John & Anne Wiley

2016/09/11

Flying Home – via Shasta & ClearLake

We’re back from wonderful visits on our latest journey to Okotoks Canada (& precious 5yr old grandaughter!), Glacier Park MT, Seattle, Grants Pass – with delightful family & friends.   We flew home today along Shasta Lake,

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 dams,

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 and the ever-intriguing wetland shapes from aerial perspective.

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So glad we went on our wonderful trip visiting lovely people – and so happy to be home!  More photos to come…once we settle in to our happy home 🙂

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2016/09/14

Smoke Signal Adventure

Anne’s “Flying Home” post introduced our first Big Adventure since “Islander” in three years, when we flew the Bahamas. This new one I’m calling the “Smoke Signal” Adventure was familiar after so many flights since 2006 and part of that is how unique each Adventure is, including discoveries of new expressions like this on the face of our planet.

1517 Familiar Discovery

1517 Familiar Discovery

It had grown increasingly surprising to us that it’s been so long, but suddenly something powerful got us moving and we took off. Unlike earlier Adventures we hesitated for many months trying to decide whether to go. Part of the problem is smoke, like this uncorrected view toward the West from the Sacramento area where the above corrected beauty was taken.

1522 Sac Smoke

1522 Sac Smoke

Our part of the world is declared to be in Exceptional Drought, and around here that means wildfires like the local Rey, Sherpa, and countless other big fires around CA. The smoke from all that burning makes flying more complicated and less fun. But it’s still fun to look more straight down and away from the sun because our brains correct for the smoke to present interesting things like this.

1524 Franklin Airport

1524 Franklin Airport

Just off the bottom of the pic are a waste water treatment plant and a prison. All we noticed in flight was the airport tempting us to land, but looking at full-resolution pix to discover the adjoining facilities adds a note of curiosity about what it would’ve been like. Nearby this bright feature triggered a shutter press.

1527 Painted Pond

1527 Painted Pond

We wondered what “painted” the pond that beautiful turquoise, and now pondering in detail we’re guessing it’s used for boat races. There are shelters where fans can watch, and a swimming pool next to a smaller pond where people can cool off.

Sometimes a feature we’ve snapped remains enigmatic until we’ve not only examined the pix in detail but googled it. This one that looks like an outdoor theater for boaters defied all attempts for an hour. It’s on the Sacramento River Bike Trail next to the freeway, but gMaps only identified the Bill Conlin Sports Complex across the small street at the left. Finally I decided it’s a fresh water facility and found out it’s the Freeport Water Intake in the Sac burb of Meadowview.

1553 Water Theater

1553 Water Theater

In case you’re still not clear about that powerful “something” that finally got us flying toward the North, it’s partly detailed in Anne’s post and in this pic. To me that’s a heart-shaped grove of trees next to the river.

1564 Power Of Love

1564 Power Of Love

2016/09/15

Day’s End

Here are the last pix from our first day of flying, from Santa Barbara to Grants Pass, OR. I’ll start off with this intriguing look at the interaction of farming and nature somewhere a few miles East of Chico, CA. I just love the leopard texture and the variations in color.

1602 Leopard Landscape

1602 Leopard Landscape

Like nearly all the pix from this day, I’ve tweaked the colors to eliminate what I can of the smoke that made even nearly straight down pix like this hazy to the camera. Since I can’t quite forget how smoky it was, here’s another smoke source. Adding to the wildfires that made the distant mountains in the bottom half of the pic below hazy even above 7,000′ where we probably were when snapping this next pic, there was smoke from ground level up to 1,000′ or so from agricultural burning like this burn in the top half and you can see it clinging to the ground in the bottom half. It’s somewhat amazing to me that people can live down there breathing that stuff for extended periods.

1573-71 Double Whammy

1573-71 Double Whammy

We were happy to be above most of it, and still able to enjoy scenes like this cartoon figure etched in a flooded (rice?) field.

1577 Simpsons or Schultz?

1577 Simpsons or Schultz?

Before long we were even higher to clear the mountains dotted with alpine lakes like this approaching Scott Valley.

1636 Alpine Lake

1636 Alpine Lake

Crossing into Oregon we could see the distant Cleveland Ridge Fire beyond Medford adding to the much thicker smoke coming from the Gap Fire back across the CA state line in Klamath Forest.

1879 Cleveland Ridge Fire

1879 Cleveland Ridge Fire

As we began descending toward Grants Pass, we got this good look at Applegate Lake.

1889 Applegate Lake

1889 Applegate Lake

Like the iconic Lake Shasta and other water resources North of the SF Bay Area, this one has gained from more normal rainfall last Winter. We’ll share more and better pix of those waters when we get to the return flight in coming posts.

2016/09/26

About Okotoks

We’re settling back into our happy life as Santa Barbarians after the flying trips to Canada and then a week after returning, back North to San Francisco. Enchanting times, and colorful dreams with some restful days, so now back to where we left off: Flying from Grants Pass to Okotoks, AB.

1973 Seattle & Bellevue

1973 Seattle & Bellevue

The first leg, from Grants Pass to Renton on the Seattle outskirts was so smoky we only have one pic from the flight. So instead I offer the above pic on a clearer (tho still smoky) day, when we took off for the last leg North. We’d had days of delights with friends and family, and the lure of special times with more dear family helped get us moving again. Anne once lived out in the woods near Snoqualmie, where now housing developments and shopping malls are taking over but there’s still the familiar view of noble Mt. Si.

1987 Mount Si

1987 Mount Si

By now you’ve noticed that the colors are so tweaked as to be a bit weird, but my hope is that the foreground is a little less the drab camera view than the beauty our eyes beheld. Farther along I-90 wasn’t much better, but still so majestic I had to share this view typical of what we see above and beyond highway vistas that are themselves beautiful.

2048 Above Highways

2048 Above Highways

We turned North at Coeur d’Alene and stopped at Cranbrook to clear Canadian Customs. Then winding along within sight of the highway (but in a much straighter line) we passed views like this East through the Rockies.

2194 Canadian Rockies

2194 Canadian Rockies

As we approached the Prairie this last butte saluted our journey.

2210 Butte Salute

2210 Butte Salute

We collected countless precious memories in Okotoks, and one of my favorites was this visit to the Erratic.

2242 Family Rock

2242 Family Rock

2016/09/29

Cut Bank Temptation

After great times with family in Okotoks we took off from High River and were soon winging over interesting prairie features like this dry salt pond.

2308 Prairie Salt Lick

2308 Prairie Salt Lick

We were headed SSE to avoid the hassle we’d once had clearing U.S. Customs at KGPI Kalispell near Glacier Park, MT. That’s a nice town and great airport, and maybe the CBP guy we encountered there has mellowed or been promoted. The mountain weather is notorious so rather than dodge thunderstorms in the air (and upon landing at CBP), we stayed East of the Rockies. Crossing the prairie by car or from an airliner can be tedious, but from our vantage point or just Being there on the ground it’s lovely.

2321 Prairie Vista

2321 Prairie Vista

I guess this is what people would see if there were a nearby hill to climb. Gentle undulations of ground level, and winding creeks interrupting the agricultural geometry, make it fascinating from a quarter mile up.

2326 GeoShapes

2326 GeoShapes

One of our fav old movies is 12 O’Clock High that relives memories of an abandoned WWII bomber base, so we imagined the transition of this spot from airfield to farm.

2355 RCAF Station Pearce

2355 RCAF Station Pearce

It was a training base, as I learned on the wiki, where I added a larger version of this pic you can click on to see the texture of frost-crushed concrete and the footprints of long-gone roads and buildings. Farther along was this farm with weathering barn, partly in shadow from some broken clouds like we saw off to the East earlier. Somehow the foreboding cloud shadow seems to portend the end of small farms.

2376 Farm on Shadow's Edge

2376 Farm on Shadow’s Edge

After this too-brief prairie tour we’d crossed the border and checked out the Cut Bank International Airport from high overhead, where we got this view of the town.

2408 Cut Bank, MT

2408 Cut Bank, MT

The name clearly comes from that deep cut the river has made, leaving tall banks cut on both sides. The highway (and rail line at far left) cross it on bridges, and the town is close enough to the airport that we considered walking after the quick and easy clearance by a very friendly and helpful CBP agent. We also considered taking advantage of the free room and shower apparently on offer in the terminal building.

2418 KCTB International Airport Terminal

2418 KCTB International Airport Terminal

Unlike the RCAF airport above that housed training in small to medium-sized WWII aircraft, this one heard the rumble of B-17 heavy bombers. After the war it hosted Western Airlines DC-3 flights, and is now a great place to clear CBP with less chance of adverse weather delaying the arrival from Canada. But like this post, the day was growing long and we wondered how night life in this friendly prairie town would compare with the lively Kalispell / Whitefish so near across the Rockies.

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