John & Anne Wiley

2018/07/14

Renton to Okotoks

We’d hoped to squeak between rainy season and fire season on this trip, but our plans were much affected by both – plus strong winds. So we were glad to get a Renton day with enough large holes in the overcast, to climb over the Cascades. If you’ve never been to that airport, like us you might enjoy seeing the large flock of Boeing 737s created there.

8430 Green Jets

8430 Green Jets

The brilliant green shrink wrap they arrive in, gives way to a spectrum of airline paint schemes. We saw a China airline one take off, presumably soon to be serving that market. Our more modest goal of Alberta began with finding a large hole in the clouds near Tapp Lake, where we could climb to cross the Cascades.

8435 Over the Top

8435 Over the Top

I enjoy tweaking Seattleites by calling this peak “Mount Rainy-er” in reference to the regional weather.

8466 Mt. Rainy-er

8466 Mt. Rainy-er

We saw glimpses through the clouds during the crossing, and even out on the prairie there were scattered clouds accenting the landscape with shadow patterns.

8483 Shadows & Light

8483 Shadows & Light

Due to fires, winds and thunderstorms we took a detour through the Rockies to Missoula rather than across Canada as hoped or our usual more direct route via Cranbrook. We fly “IFR” but not the type following imaginary lines in the clouds – for us it’s “I Follow Roads” for ease and extra safety. Near one summit was this magnificent river.

3972 High Rapids

3972 High Rapids

The river added an accent to the beauty of Missoula as we approached for a planned rest and fuel that we’d purposely kept light for easier climb over the Rockies.

8501 Missoula Break

8501 Missoula Break

The smoke was noticeable during our entire trip, but this route limited it to the thin haze you see here. On the ramp we passed the Neptune firefighter hangar where #41 looked familiar from tracking aircraft during the SB Thomas Fire.

164935 Thomas Vet?

164935 Thomas Vet?

On our taxi back out for takeoff was this tired P2 stalwart that started work with the U.S. Navy and retired out in this pasture as N96264 offering up useful parts after apparently working in SB at least once.

3993 Hard Won Rest

3993 Hard Won Rest

Back in the air now headed directly North to the cool airport community at Okotoks, more prairie sights enchanted us and reinforced our experience with the fascination of the flats.

8508 Great Circle

8508 Great Circle

Rain squalls along the Eastern edge of the Rockies further rewarded our decision to make the detour through Missoula.

4038 Rocky Ribbons of Rain

4038 Rocky Ribbons of Rain

The only rain we encountered in fact, was a downpour minutes after we landed. We waited out most of it before venturing out of Tripp and organizing for our visit as the sun peeked out.

210446 Omen of Fortune

210446 Omen of Fortune

The brilliant double rainbow arc went clear across the sky, to foretell an exceptionally wonderful family time. Our daughter and grand daughter drove us to their cozy home, stopping to pick up supplies and entertain us with a giggling bag hat.

154043 Pure Delight

154043 Pure Delight

During our stay we also joined up with dear friends we met in Santa Barbara, who now live in Boston. We planned to fly them around Banff and Jasper, but weather never cooperated so we all went to clamber on Big Rock instead.

4046 Big Rock

4046 Big Rock

Brought here eons ago by glaciers, it’s been a fascinating place for humans since prehistoric times. The Bostonians of course climbed both rocks. 🙂

4071 Conquerors

4071 Conquerors

The gals claimed the other rock.

4070 Girls Rule

4070 Girls Rule

Advertisements

Seattleites

After landing in Renton it was refreshing to visit family and dear friends in the Seattle area. Our days there began with a couple who have basically built an enchanted “meditation retreat center” on some carefully tended acres in the woods next to a grand river. Just walking through their “hobbit” gate en-trance, begins to soften your breathing and soothe the soul.

3702 Land of Enchantment

3702 Land of Enchantment

After an evening of delicious garden fresh food, fascinating quiet conversation, and deep nourishing dreams we went back into town to take them flying. In minutes we had climbed over water, trees and homes to tour the Seattle skyline in clear air beneath broken clouds.

3768 Space Needle & Gehry

3768 Space Needle & Gehry

The once futuristic and now iconic Space Needle is complemented by Frank Ghery’s fanciful buildings at the base amid other new features and ongoing construction. We continued on across the water to Vashon Island where sand mingles with surf in unique shapes and colors.

3808 Vashon Beach #1

3808 Vashon Beach #1

On another beach on this small island so near the big city, other friends have built a dream home.

3836 Vashon Beach #2

3836 Vashon Beach #2

Between these beaches is the grass landing strip we’ve planned to land on before, only to be thwarted by inclement weather.

3816 Vashon Airstrip

3816 Vashon Airstrip

We were glad to get a good look at it, and to see that it’s dry, because we planned to fly there for a visit with sweet friends who own that beach home (2nd beach pic above) the next day. For now we carried on across the water to the South on a wide oval route past SeaTac Airport back to Renton.

3817 Mingling Waters

3817 Mingling Waters

The winds, currents, and water sources meet there making beautiful multi-colored patterns.

We were delighted waking to high clouds the next day, because we could finally make that hoped for landing at Vashon. On the way out of Renton we enjoyed seeing the familiar treed U.W. campus.

8401 University of WA Seattle

8401 University of WA Seattle

Our friends met us at Vashon Airport and drove us the few minutes to their lovely place with an old brown dog, and a big front porch. Also a great clear day view of Mount Rainier (yes, it’s in this pic).

3912 Perfect Front Porch

3912 Perfect Front Porch

Instead of rabbits in a pen ala Carole King, they have a magnificent garden. After a lovely visit, this time we flew back over downtown where we got a closer look at the giant ferris wheel. Before flying, such things were our only easy way to get an overview but now they look tiny far below (unless we use a zoom camera).

3928 Seattle Great Wheel

3928 Seattle Great Wheel

The skyline has changed a lot since we last flew here, and the change is speeding up. Hopefully there’s careful urban planning and these tall buildings can withstand an earthquake or tsunami, because they’re sure beautiful.

3946 Rising Giants

3946 Rising Giants

2018/06/21

As I Was Saying…

Well, it’s quite amazing to me that nothing new has appeared here since 2/28 (about our 3/29/2017 flight!) and here we are with the delightful 2018 SB Solstice Parade just days away! I guess it’s surprising that it’s amazing, since I’m mainly the one who’s been adding posts here. I’m beside myself. 😉

A few days after that island flight we enjoyed flying past some hillside poppies and lupine near Ventura. The slope had been scarred by fire, and little did we know then that it would burn again in the horrific Thomas Fire (more on that after more catch up posts).

8165 Poppies & Lupine

8165 Poppies & Lupine

We walked the lovely beaches in this area, but seldom take pix then. Why then do we sometimes snap beaches from the air and enjoy “seeing ourselves” down there? Maybe because when a plane flies past us on the beach, we look up and drink in the music of flight recalling being there just as we snap the memories of strolling and wading down there?

8405 Up & Down Beach

8405 Up & Down Beach

It’s always a magical delight when we see whales. Scientists say our mirror neurons fire when we empathize with their parental nurturing.

8557 Swimming Lessons

8557 Swimming Lessons

The scalloped shoreline of Lake Cachuma is often interesting from above, especially when there’s green on the slopes.

8887 Cachuma Shores

8887 Cachuma Shores

Flower fields are another favorite.

8961 Color Harvest

8961 Color Harvest

We like to watch birds in flight, though we seldom see them while we’re flying because they see us far before we see them. Even other aircraft can easily escape our scan due to the distance between us. So it was fun to see this pilot stretching his wings near the edge of a beach bluff.

8975 Birdman

8975 Birdman

Speaking of beach bluffs, some of them tear into the sea in sheets. Pages of pre-history tilted up over eons until they tumble down into the waves they formed beneath, rose above, then dissolved back into.

9152 Over, Under, In

9152 Over, Under, In

Sometimes picking up inexpensive fresh local colorful and nutritious organic produce at the State Street Farmer’s Market on Tuesday, we’ll glance up when a plane flies over. On the rare times we’re flying over it ourselves, we may snap a pic and zoom in later to notice that nobody down there looked up. We’re rare birds.

9500 Market Colors

9500 Market Colors

Sometimes on a clear day while things are still green in late Spring, the hills and fields of Santa Paula just sparkle.

9661 Santa Paula Valley

9661 Santa Paula Valley

Other times the geometry of life and human hands stands out, like the geometry of joy on this day they cleaned out the sandbox at Shoreline Park.

9686 Shape of Play

9686 Shape of Play

Sometimes the sea rises into the air and tries to devour the land, only to vanish in the sun.

9751 Land, Sea, Air

9751 Land, Sea, Air

So in this very abbreviated collection, I’ve almost brought us up to a year ago. How long before I can make time to share more of the delights we’re so fortunate to enjoy?

2018/02/28

Santa Rosa Island

Filed under: Flying,Has Photos,Inner World,Nature,Random,SB Region — John @ 18:57

After our quick Santa Barbara Channel Islands tour past San Miguel, we headed East along the South coast of Santa Rosa. There was a soft glow of moisture in the air that day, so I’d put a polarizing filter on the camera to cut the haze. That let me get this long zoom shot of blooms on the North side of Santa Rosa earlier as we descended from the crossing toward San Miguel.

7779 Santa Rosa Blooms

7779 Santa Rosa Blooms

Now we were enjoying a look at Santa Rosa’s SW tip with Point Conception to the NW in the blue hazy distance.

7850 Santa Rosa W. Tip

7850 Santa Rosa W. Tip

Off to our right was a view across Santa Rosa’s rumpled blanket of green to the more mountainous Santa Cruz Island.

7852 NE Across Santa Rosa

7852 NE Across Santa Rosa

But of course closer in we were looking down at pinnipeds hauled out in a small sunny cove and more painterly colors of sand, stone, and island plant life.

7853 Plants & Pinnipeds

7853 Plants & Pinnipeds

The sea caves, shapes and colors of Santa Rosa shores were especially delicious that day, thanks to splashes of wildflowers on some slopes.

7856 Santa Rosa Colors

7856 Santa Rosa Colors

Glancing back toward the West tip, wisps of Pacific color caressed the South coast washed by waves coming to rest after their thousands of miles at sea.

7861 Water Colors

7861 Water Colors

We wondered what plant was making this color we couldn’t name amid faint blotches of red.

7862 Deep Purple Plant

7862 Deep Purple Plant

Already the delights of San Miguel were sliding into the distant memories of these precious minutes that somehow merge into an impression of beauty beyond words. We’re glad to have a few hundred pix to temporarily restore tiny particles of that unfolding panorama we saw, almost proving we actually saw paradise. In the wide and long pix like this one, I can pick out a few of the zoom pix that in reality were much more powerful in living 3D context.

7866 Timeless Memories

7866 Timeless Memories

Even more magical we still had much more of just this second unique island among the four, stretching out ahead!

7868 S.Rosa to S.Cruz

7868 S.Rosa to S.Cruz

But this post is already getting long so I’ll share this one last look of Santa Rosa entire, back toward San Miguel.

7905 Santa Rosa Island

7905 Santa Rosa Island

A green gemstone sprawled in a placid sea beneath wisps of cloud, Santa Rosa Island enchanted us yet again that day.

2018/02/27

Island Colors

Santa Barbara is our favorite region to fly. Among the many reasons is the delicious set of Santa Barbara Channel Islands just a few minutes from SBA. March 29, 2017 we decided to fly out and see if they were still green from the Spring rains, and maybe even spot some wildflower blooms.

Every takeoff from SBA immediately greets the observer with 360 degrees of magnificent views, plus of course the view up into the blue (often with a garnish of a few clouds) and back downward for a new perspective on the familiar scenes below.

7529 Down to UCSB

7529 Down to UCSB

Views like this of the Campus Point part of UCSB are always beautiful, though on this day we were climbing at full power and thus already higher than usual above the foot and bike paths, surfers, SUPs, rolling waves and placid lagoon.

Soon we saw a giant pod of dolphins swimming and leaping toward the West across our path.

7745 1/3 Dolphin Frenzy

7745 1/3 Dolphin Frenzy

This is only about a third of the pod, cropped to give a sense of the size while also showing a tiny bit of detail. In the full-resolution pic you can see that many of them are under the water, while this pic shows mostly the ones breaking the surface. Wonder what the frenzy was about!

Our eyes were still darting to and fro taking in the wonders as we descended along the North shore of San Miguel Island, one of our two favorites among the four clustered off our coast (Anacapa is the other). I’m seduced by the flat striped West end that presented this angle when we turned back eastward along the South shore.

7784 East San Miguel Island

7784 West San Miguel Island

In this particular view I see a coyote leaping left about to gulp a big meal (the high tide islet formed by Point Bennett just offshore). Off in the distance beyond I snapped this zoom of stony Castle Rock across to the North.

7793 Sea Caves

7793 Sea Caves

There are lots of sea caves on the islands, and this little rocky companion boasts quite a collection. I presume they’re used by lots of wildlife. Dustings of white lead me to guess that plenty of birds hang out on the rocks between meals, or maybe longer to raise their families. Here’s a wide shot with Castle Rock at the top center, showing some of San Miguel’s colors that day.

7794 San Miguel Colors

7794 San Miguel Colors

I like how the variations in ocean color complement the shades of sand and life. Many of the grayish hues along the beaches are actually large groups of pinnipeds digesting their lunch in the warm sun. Here’s a closer look at the island colors, with a soft wash of purple, blue and yellow wildflowers.

7797 San Miguel Bloom

7797 San Miguel Bloom

Now a zoom of this little cove with its striated rocks, surging and receding waves, arroyo meanders, and dappled textures in greens, browns and blues.

7809 Tidal Cove

7809 Tidal Cove

A few leisurely minutes later we were looking back toward the Northwest at this glorious long view, already on our way East to the other islands.

7839 San Miguel to NW

7839 San Miguel to NW

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: