John & Anne Wiley

2010/09/26

Mountain High

We’re just back from a thrill-packed twenty-four plus hours of flying fun, family garnished. Haven’t taken time yet to review our hundreds of pix, but some are totally breathtaking. We took off from SBA in the late afternoon, headed direct to Mt. Whitney (tallest mountain in contiguous U.S.). For most of our years together we assumed that at some point we’d join the throngs on an arduous hike to the summit. Seems that we’ve now released that notion, so our focus had shifted to seeing it from the air. So when we saw Friday’s forecast for unusually low winds there, Tripp’s stellar ability to climb high was put to the test.

1176 Smokey Mountains

1176 Smokey Mountains

I feel fortunate to be flying in the era of online weather info and GPS. One thing that I’m still missing though, is a good online source for smoke data and forecasts. CA is blessed with the most geological diversity in the U.S. (maybe the world), but unfortunately that includes large areas subject to wildfires. I’ve yet to find a way to anticipate how much smoke will be in an area we’re planning to fly. As we approached the high Sierras, this smoke-strewn horizon had me seriously considering a complete change of plans.

1217 Whitney At Last

1217 Whitney At Last

Happily we carried on, and were treated to relatively clear (and calm as forecast) air next to Whitney. The mountains there are all very high, so for added safety margin over the high valleys and a better look at the peaks we reached 13k’ – our highest altitude to date in Tripp. Due to leaving late the light was fading, so in addition to living our dream of getting up close we also kindled a new dream for return flights in clearer air and better light!

1247 High Tea

1247 High Tea

In this shot looking back toward the southeast you can clearly see the shack on top where people can leave a record of their summit. Also presumably a shelter for anyone caught up there by a storm, I like to imagine a cup of warm tea. It wouldn’t be hot because water boils at a pretty low temperature that high above sea level (unlike nearby Death Valley where it boils hotter than anywhere else in the U.S. due to being below sea level).

We (hopefully Anne too, cuz she got some great shots) will be sharing more spectacular pix from this trip in coming posts. Meanwhile I’ve posted a few different ones on my Photo Page.

ps-here’s a dusky Eastern Sierra mountain lake we passed descending into Bishop for the night. Look how many fish seem to be jumping, leaving all those ripples!

1268 High Lake Dusk

1268 High Lake Dusk

Advertisements

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: