The next morning, day ten in Alaska, I climbed the peak next to my camp, about 7,000 feet (Anaktuvuk pass is about 2,500 feet) for some great views. However I was starting to think about flying again and I was able to get some basic text-based weather on my satellite device (DeLorme InReach) and that showed storms were coming in. I wouldn’t know it yet, but within a few days it would be snowing around here. I also had this crash report in mind from June. I decided to hike out that day and even fly out that evening to get ahead of the storm.
I dropped down a different valley into the John River valley and followed that back to Anaktuvuk Pass. There I met Brad again, the general manager of the village corp., and he wanted me to experience the great burgers at the café. Interesting, because previously he said they had a restaurant but from walking around I never found it. This time he drove me the two blocks to get there and it turned out to be an unmarked and rather unappealing trailer with a sewage problem. I couldn’t help but suggest maybe they put a sign on it for tourist’s sake. It was a great burger though and I even saw they had halibut and all kinds of stuff. I wouldn’t say it was a romantic sort of restaurant, but it was clean (inside) and had good food.
For the sake of being a good tourist I bought an Anaktuvuk Pass jacket at the store, then preflighted my plane and took off. Unfortunately, because of numerous fires just south of the Brooks Range the visibility soon went to almost zero and I was flying on instruments. There were also increasing clouds and I was in the process of trying to figure out where they were so I could fly under them if possible, or over them – keeping in mind the freezing level of about 9,000 feet. Not really a problem but certainly a time of high concentration.
Then a red light came on and warnings started to flash on my engine monitor display. Oh my, what timing.
Next: Inflight Emergency