I camped next to the plane in Nenana a short distance away from a wrecked C-54 (DC-4) and the next morning I decided I really wanted to get a photo of myself in the cockpit, but I only had a 10 second self-timer to work with. I cleared a path in the wreckage debris inside the plane so I could run from the camera to the cargo door, leap in and run up into the cockpit to stick my head out. However after about 10 attempts all I had was 10 photos of the plane with an empty cockpit window. I finally gave up and fortunately right before I left a woman came by on a bike and took the photo for me.
I learned the story of the plane later in the trip: It developed an engine fire while delivering fuel to a mining operation in 2007, and it was fairly well known how many minutes you had before a fire burned through the wing. The pilot had diverted and was heading for Nenana but ran out of time and decided to put it down on the tundra before he lost a wing. It ripped up the bottom but no one was injured.
From Nenana I couldn’t help but detour to fly over more mountains, so I flew over the almost mythical Arrigetch Peaks on my way to my destination of Anaktuvuk Pass. The Arrigetch are an extremely remote and hard to reach area of brutally beautiful granite spires. My original plan was to hike to these peaks but that would entail more time and money than I had planned since a float-equipped bush plane charter and lots of time are needed.
Climbing trips to this area are truly committing because of the time and effort involved. Huge backpacking loads, bushwack approaches, weeks of effort and seemingly endless climbing pitches describe the climbing here. I love to dream, but the fact is I may never get there.
After this amazing fly-over I headed through smoky skies (lots of fires) to my destination.