John & Anne Wiley

2012/09/23

Smokier

It was a dark and stormy night. Well, not really but it was dark and there were some storms not far away when we landed at Creston after flying from Valemount through Jasper and Banff and taking our long pause at Invermere. For whatever reasons, I don’t seem to have a single pic from that night. Guess we were all tired, and our focus was more on getting to Creston and then Being there. We walked from the hotel to a pub for a light meal and slept well. Then walked to breakfast in the garden of this little cafe.

0351 Creston Morning

0351 Creston Morning

It wasn’t long before we were flying again, and again we didn’t take many pix. I do still have quite a few, but most didn’t come out well due to all the smoke from assorted regional wildfires. This one Anne snapped as we were somewhere around Sand Point, ID shows the smoke.  The exposure is a little off but it at least gives an impression of how beautiful it was even with the smoke. I love how our eye subtracts things like smoke when we’re actually there, but it would be nice if our eye would also subtract it from pix.

4247 Another Pass

4247 Another Pass

After all the mountain passes we’d been flying since Edmonton, it was still scenic to fly through another. After clearing customs in Spokane (no pix) we flew across the prairie edge past Grand Coolie Dam again and entered the Cascades at a different pass than we’d flown coming the other way.

2988 More Mountains

2988 More Mountains

Now in this area there are some grand volcanic peaks that are still “active” in geological terms. We could see several of them along the way, but most of the pix are too smoky to be of interest. But somewhere along Stevens Pass we got this smokey glimpse of Mt. Rainier.

3001 Mt. Smokier

3001 Mt. Smokier

That’s it at the top-center (not a distant cloud), towering above its neighbors. To me the name “Rainy-er” fits well, since it’s usually wearing a thick cloak of soaking clouds. But on this day it could aptly be nicknamed Smokier. One of my only passable pix, taken in one of my fav spots on this route, is the high pass right before you enter the flatlands of greater Seattle. It’s above the highway and the small town you might be able to make out at the bottom-right (ask and I can look it up). There’s a small lake between two high blades of peak, and I like flying through it as a grand entrance to the city and Sound.

3023 Left Blade

3023 Left Blade

Of course, on this day we could barely see the town a couple of miles away and the Sound was only a memory beyond the curtain of smoke that also obscured any hint of the Seattle suburbs. One of the things I like about this high pass is that it’s only a few minutes’ flight from Renton. We landed there for a brief break and Anne’s sister joined Joy and her for an idyllic wade in Cedar River right next to the airport.

3035 Heaven NW

3035 Heaven NW

So evocative of sweet Summertime in the Northwest. Rafting down the rivers, riding our bikes along riverside trails and taking a cooling splash, and cuddling up at a cozy spot to watch the water go by as we filled all our senses to overflowing and stocked up for the coming winter. Then goodbye to sweet Sis at Renton and back into Tripp for the short flight to Olympia for the night and next morning exploring that charming city.

3091 Airport View

3091 Airport View

On a nice day, the Renton airport (KRNT) has some really spectacular views. On this side is Rainier in the distance, and opposite is Lake Washington and Seattle beyond. Needless to say we enjoyed the takeoff and the short flight, including the shortcut ATC gave us across bustling SeaTac Int’l airport. I borrowed Anne’s camera to snap it, but as you can see it only captured a grainy impression.

4285 SeaTac

4285 SeaTac

Next we review pix from the coastal passage to the hamlet of McBeth.

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