John & Anne Wiley

2011/08/19

Stanley, Presumably

When we fly into a small town, people often think we’re rich. Then they ask where we’re from, and modestly replying Santa Barbara seals their mis-impression. So flying into Stanley was a nice change, because people there were somehow taking it all in stride. This morning we woke early and watched sunrise paint the Sawtooths behind our surprisingly cozy teepees.

3931 Smiley Dawn

3931 Smiley Dawn

Did you notice the three teepees in yesterday’s pic of our approach to Smiley Creek? You might also notice the two Harleys in this pic, belonging to the sweet couple from Utah who slept on the right with us in the middle and Julie at the left. After a wonderful breakfast of home made granola, the gals made the short drive to Stanley while I flew solo to meet them at the airport there. Being late morning, the air was still fairly cool and with all our camping gear in Julie’s car Tripp was light and frisky. So though there were enough thermals to make for a somewhat bouncy ride, I rode a big one up to 12,500′ for a better look at the mountains and Redfish Lake (Stanley’s in the distance beyond the end of the lake).

3994 Redfish Lake

3994 Redfish Lake

Of even more interest to me were the zillions of alpine lakes like this, many clearly nestled where glaciers slumbered until a moment ago in geological time.

4016 High Lake

4016 High Lake

I like the colors amid the gray crags, and the traces of tough trees trying to stretch their march up the mountains. Several lakes had magnificent waterfalls like this next one.

4036 Cascading Lake

4036 Cascading Lake

We drove together from Stanley out to Redfish Lake where we met Julie’s great friend Suzi, who later took a short scenic flight over the lake with me. Then as the ladies waited at big construction projects on the highway back to Smiley, I flew up the valley enjoying the scenery on both sides yet again on a different route in different light. Solo is fun, but I’m looking forward to sharing it all with Anne again tomorrow.

To Chelan

Filed under: Flying,Happiness,Has Photos,Nature,Random,Smiley Adventure — John @ 20:25

We bid a warm farewell to Smiley after brunch, but not before something magical happened: Julie, who’s been scared of small planes flew around the valley w/us! Such a treat for all of us. 🙂

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So here’s a snap of Chelan airport, and the pix between will come later ‘cuz no wifi again tonite & posting by cellphone is tedious. Sleepy!

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2011/08/20

The Rest

We’ve found a wifi cafe, so I’m going to post the rest of yesterday’s pix and then we’re off to Renton (Seattle). We had a great rest last night, probably my best sleep of the trip so far. We’d been warned that Chelan can be populated with rowdy drunks on weekends, but it seems quiet and friendly so far. The airport’s out of town so it was really quiet. The airport guy loaned us his old klunker and we drove in last nite too.

Our first stop out of Smiley yesterday was Cascade for nitrogen in Tripp’s nose strut that had gone low. The guys at Arnold’s were fabulous, and by the time we left Tripp had her head held high and was feeling frisky. It was fun to see aerophile cows right next to the runway. They stood right next to the fence to watch the planes come and go.

4169 Cow Cascade

4169 Cow Cascade

The town is next to a big lake, and taking off I spotted some cool rapids people seem to use a lot. Maybe kids having a Friday lunch ride before school starts?

4172 Rapid Loop

4172 Rapid Loop

Next we grabbed lunch in McCall, and I snapped this from over the airport after we’d done a wide climbing turn over the lake.

4203 McCall Calling

4203 McCall Calling

Next a fuel stop in nearby Council, where the airport is a quiet and lonely place amid hay fields. With the somewhat short runway, mid-day heat, and full tanks, I let Tripp take her time climbing out over open fields where I snapped this meandering cool creek.

4209 Creek In Council

4209 Creek In Council

Somewhere on the way North up the valley, a thoughtful farmer had honored our Anne with a large hillside monogram.

4226 Grade A

4226 Grade A

The river valley has lots of rapids punctuating the deep meanders and sandy beaches, and tho I saw some kayakers and rafters the pix eluded me.

4252 River Beach

4252 River Beach

We turned Northwest as the river did and then left it as we bent away from our route to see Moses Lake on the way here. As usual flying fairly low over farm country, the fields and terrain are enchanting.

4282 Terrain Tales

4282 Terrain Tales

I was admiring Lewiston when Anne commented that Clarkston is across the river, and that added to my imagining of the Corps of Discovery passing thru a few years ago when Tripp passing across the sky would have triggered considerable awe rather than perhaps a passing glance.

4293 L&C Together Again

4293 L&C Together Again

Further along I became fascinated with dust. Everything moving left a widening trail lazily climbing into the sun, and this tractor seemed to be chasing the dust devil.

4296 Tractor & Devil

4296 Tractor & Devil

Moses Lake was rather uneventful from the air, aside from a tall fountain just above the bridge at bottom-center. The lake beyond is called Potholes so we didn’t route to that side, but it might actually be more interesting from the air. The town itself sprawls all along Moses Lake, and I guess boaters and water skiers love racing back and forth along the arc of lake that’s mostly out of view to the right.

4302 Moses Lake

4302 Moses Lake

You’ll notice it’s starting to get smoky. There’s a fire near Wenatchee, as you can see at the upper right.

4309 Wenatchee Fire

4309 Wenatchee Fire

When we heard about the fire, we wondered whether the smoke would be hanging over Chelan. As you can see in last nite’s pic during approach to the airport though, it’s only a thin haze here. So now, up and away again… 🙂

2011/08/21

Water, Stone & Smoke

After a quick dabble at the shore, we flew up Lake Chelan past all but one or two boats and enjoyed the cool blue water from above. To the third bend, where we could almost see the end. This pic shows it only to the first bend, and this is where most of the boats were. The dam at the bottom-left is where the main town we explored begins, and the airport is a few miles behind and to the right out of frame.

4354 Bottom of Chelan

4354 Bottom of Chelan

Past the second bend there was one large waterfall still running, and the boats offshore had me wondering how much is visible from the water. The lower part by the beach was less spectacular, and I wondered if any people from those boats had gone ashore to climb up for a look at the upper falls.

4394 Lakeshore Waterfall

4394 Lakeshore Waterfall

Skirting the fire West of Wenatchee we got a good look at the source of smoke that added varying amounts of haze to the magnificent views along our route.

4446 Wenatchee Fire

4446 Wenatchee Fire

At a few places we got relatively clear glimpses of Mt. Baker and the remarkable Cascade crags in our foreground.

4493 Baker Brothers

4493 Baker Brothers

Leaving the valley as we neared Seattle airspace, a high valley with finger lake stands to the right of the lower valley where the highway is. It was so tempting, we climbed a little for extra safety to fly through it for closer inspection of the trail left by a massive river of ice when the world was colder.

4517 High Passage

4517 High Passage

Passing through, we were looking and snapping out both sides. I got this view back at the peak toward the highway side, and it might have been interesting to see how it looks from there.

4527 Past Peak

4527 Past Peak

As we began our approach to Renton I took a pass to the left where we got a distant hazy view of Mt. Ranier beyond sleepy farming valleys on our way to pass over Issaquah.

4556 Dim Giant

4556 Dim Giant

So many slumbering volcano giants along this coast, it reminds me how alive our rock is and how much it has changed over the eons. Sometimes flying can take us far beyond the few hundred miles and variety of scenes in a relatively short flight.

2011/08/24

Magic

Tripp is our magic carpet. We huddle beneath her stout wings and she whisks us to imaginary lands. Today we bid goodbye to our Renton hosts, enjoyed deep conversation with one of our dearest friends, and then Tripp-ed out toward Snoqualmie. Near the small town of Carnation, a magic mirror pulled us effortlessly the remaining distance into another dimension.

4629 Magic Mirror

4629 Magic Mirror

We saw the farmhouse where loved ones once lived in an enchanted past, opening doors into the soul and forming lifetime bonds in a shared exploration of nature.

4666 The Farmhouse

4666 The Farmhouse

Now it’s up on blocks with the chimneys pulled out, ready for a move to some other landscape. Nearby we saw the famous Snoqualmie Falls as never before. The added dimension and context gained by flying over this wonder left us awestruck.

4687 Snoqualmie Falls

4687 Snoqualmie Falls

Close by, another home from the past slipped slowly past our shadow. The forest chalet where part of our marriage was formed as we fixed it up and built a meditation pond next to a small stream in the woods.

4717 Treehouse

4717 Treehouse

Now this treehouse has new dreamers, and has been fixed up even more. We were pleased to see that the old circus wagon (top-left) is still there, working its charm on the new owners and their visitors. Then we turned back toward Seattle and flew out toward the Sound, snapping this on the way.

4863 Seattle Skyline

4863 Seattle Skyline

Where once we dined atop the Space Needle watching a small plane move slowly across the sky, today we were in that plane watching ourselves down in the remembered restaurant. Then on to Olympia where we picked up another lifetime friend for a wander out to Hoquiam. There in the wide bay we spotted an offshore islet sporting a punk haircut tuft of green.

4934 Fantasy Island

4934 Fantasy Island

Turning back toward Olympia a sea cave in the colorful bluffs came into view glowing with sunset accents.

4937 Sunset Sea Cave

4937 Sunset Sea Cave

Once again our magic carpet has transported us to new dimensions for a short journey that feels like generations have passed gracefully before us.

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