John & Anne Wiley

2011/09/05

Smiley Rerun

Today’s review of our zillion photos from this last trip has reached our arrival at Smiley Creek, ID. Yesterday we left off with rapids as we neared Bend, OR and though we of course have plenty of pix from there they are somewhat hazy due to a big fire near Boise. Instead I’ll start off with our entrance to the Sawtooth Mountains along a pass from the West toward Stanley, ID.

3871 West of Stanley

3871 West of Stanley

Normally a scene like this would be remarkable enough to merit lots of pix, and it does show one of the two or three large light-colored peaks we saw in the area. From a distance we thought they were much taller and covered with snow or glaciers. I even double-checked my route, because the aeronautical charts didn’t show any really tall mountains there. But in this same area were some stunning alpine lakes.

3880 Alpine Lakes

3880 Alpine Lakes

We saw innumerable pristine lakes like this, and many were clearly carved from solid rock by glaciers. Though the smoke diminished quite a bit as we flew East along the pass, by now on both sides were massive rows upon rows of jagged peaks extending into the hazy distance.

3884 Sawtooth Mountains

3884 Sawtooth Mountains

I was quite happy to follow roads through wide valleys, though many pilots explore deep into these vast mountain ranges. Many of the peaks are extremely jagged, as you can see in this snap of Anne’s.

0702 Jagged Peaks

0702 Jagged Peaks

After we turned South along the valley from Stanley to Smiley Creek enjoying breathtaking vast vistas that pics don’t show well due to haze and low sun angle, Anne snapped this as I lined up for my first grass strip landing.

0718 First Grass

0718 First Grass

Along with a nice view back up the valley, it shows how well-tended this strip is. Tripp loved landing on the grass, because it’s like a giant pillow. It makes landings very gentle and smooth, eliminating any trace of that “chirp” of tires meeting pavement as they scuff away expensive rubber getting up to speed, and the soft turf quickly slows the plane without using brakes. Such a delightful airport this is! Just a few steps across the highway is the store, restaurant & coffee shop, ice cream parlor, campsite, and the heated teepee we would enjoy that night.

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