Flying to Alaska, Glacier Flight

Betsy rolled out of Haines Junction in the van following the Alaska Highway to Tok Alaska. I was to fly into Northway to clear US customs and then on to meet Bets at Tok.

But first, I flew west into the mountains, careful to pick a route to that wouldn’t run me into a dead end that I may have trouble climbing out of. I had mounted a GoPro on the tail and turned it on to “Time Lapse”, taking a photo every 5 seconds. I’m not doing time lapse, but I’ve found it difficult to both fly and try to manage the remote/iPhone to control a GoPro. This way I take a LOT of photos, but I can go through and just pick out one or two.

Having the GoPro set up that way was perfect for this photo. I saw the opportunity from way back but I was too high. I dropped the gear and flaps, pulled power and settled down to maybe 1,000 feet above the glacier and got situated above the split.

I know from experience the GoPro shoots high so I went into a dive, counted to five to make sure I got a shot, then pulled up. What I learned is that five seconds in a dive is actually a long time. I’m glad I did though because the wings would have been higher and covered much of the mountains and glaciers.

I couldn’t mess around too much because I had a border crossing appointment at Northway with US CBP.

It was strange conversation when I made the appointment by phone. They have to drive out 30 minutes to Northway and it became evident that they weren’t staffed for that or just plain didn’t want to do it. They asked if I was continuing on to Anchorage. I said no. They asked if I was going to Anchorage any time in the next few days. I said no. They asked if I would consider going to Anchorage. What? No, I explained I really didn’t want to go to Anchorage.

How about Fairbanks they said. What the heck? These are places that mean significant time and money to go there. Is the CBP really asking me for a favor like that? Like, what do I get? Anyway, I said I wasn’t planning on going to Fairbanks.

When I met the fellow at Northway he spent about a minute with me. He did ask me if I needed to disclose anything and I said I had a shotgun for bear protection. He said, “Every American should have a shotgun” and then sent me on my way.

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