Renae came down and met me in Georgia to fly back with together. It was another amazing adventure. We saw some old friends and met many great people along the way. We stayed a couple nights in Lewistown, Montana waiting for some strong mountain winds to lay down. They had a huge hanger that was all wooden rafter construction where we could hide from the thunderstorms. The building was an incredible feat of engineering. From there we flew to Lynden, Washington to stage for our nonstop flight over Canada the next morning. The town was very friendly. One of the local pilots gave us some useful tips for easily navigating the Vancouver airspace, which was much appreciated. The next day we had the perfect weather for our 5.3 hour leg to Ketchikan, Ak. We had been watching the weather up the coast over the prior two weeks and this was the first good weather window on the day we were flying that coastal route. We saw it as clear a gift of our Heavenly Father.
The mountains and glaciers were spectacular! We made it from Washington to Willow, Ak all in the same day. It was an epic flight.
Isaac and his dad had the privilege of going down to the Maule factory and assisting in the final assymbly of the Alaska 2.0 Maule. They had a great time working together as father and son. The Maule family still makes the best family bush plane in the world! The new M7-235 weighed in at 1574 on 35 Alaskan Bushwheels which is fantastic for a 5 place bush ready plane. It is the only model that is approved to have a rudder gap seal and no interconnect tab on the rudder. This makes gives the plane more control in cross winds. The new Maule is about 8MPH faster in cruise than the last one but sill lands at the same speeds as before. We are very happy with the new plane!
We love finding new things in the wilds of Alaska. There are two special things Isaac and his dad are always looking for while flying around, caves and hot springs. This fall we found a cave better than any other we have found previously in Alaska. It appeared to be a big arch from the air. Isaac and Curt quickly found a spot to land nearby and hiked down to the Arch. They climbed down about 30 feet and explored what they thought was the bottom. Just before leaving they found a small dark hole barley big enough to shimmy though on their bellies. Of course they had to crawl down the hole and see where it went. They found the hole opened up after about 15 feet into a room the size of a small bedroom. The ceiling was full of crystals. There was one other room and three shafts branching off from the first room. So exciting!
Here is a collage of some fun pictures from this summer. They were taken around the Iliamna area. The bottom picture is of LOTS of Sockeye Salmon on the Upper Iliamna River.
September is always an exciting month. Isaac's dad came out again to help with flying. The weather was cool and made for great moose hunting. Our hunters worked hard and were rewarded with some amazing moose. There were 3 moose over 70" this season and 3 others that were close. We are all finshed and grateful for another safe season and freezers full of meat. We want to thank you hunters who came, worked hard and took care of the meat of the moose you harvested. You have left our family with great memories and stories.
Isaac got to go out with his dad and son Gideon. They weren't looking for a large bull but this is what came out of the bushes first. Gideon made a nice clean kill and they brought home over 840 lbs of meat! A typical mature bull has around 600 lbs of meat. This thing was huge!
It was an awesome day of flying with Ben counting fish today.
Man do I love flying fish surveys with the State Biologists. These folks are great to work with, down to earth, and care about God's Creation. We covered over 3,100 miles in 5 days counting Chinook salmon. The Maule allows us to fly 7 hrs (with 45 min reserve)with out refueling. Because the Maule is so much faster than a Supercub or Husky we can get much more accomplished in the same amount of time. We cruise much faster but are still able to survey at the same speeds I used to in the Cubs and Huskies.