After a week or so in Valdez we reversed our route back to Gulkana, which seems to have turned out to be a central airport/campsite for us.
This time Betsy, Ney-J and Kathy left early in the van and did a hike at Thomson Pass. Passing over in the plane I wasn’t exactly sure they were there until I saw the van parked below, so I did a 180 and went through the pass again, now looking at the trails and ridges. Sure enough, I spotted the three of them waving. Fun!
I flew low over the Copper River back up to Gulkana where I waited a few hours for the van to show up. I got out of the plane and it was raining so I got back and in and just waited, sitting there. In the meantime I enjoyed some hummus, crackers and red wine.
I posted the “red wine” photo on Instagram (@ney.grant) and I was accused of promoting drinking and flying. Come on, really? I mean I drink and fly all the time, but I don’t promote it. (that was a joke)
It wasn’t raining the next day so we flew (low again) down the Copper to the Chitna and over to McCarthy with a detour to look at the Nazina that we rafted last summer. With all this low flying I’ve spent hours looking for wildlife but on this flight Betsy saw a big grizzly bear lumbering along the shores of the Nazina. I’ve seen one distant moose.
We landed in McCarthy where I suffered from big-tire-envy. Just about everyone had big tundra tires but me. My tires looked so small. Another difference? Some of those big tires have 3-5 psi in them vs 90 in my nosewheel.
Betsy and I went to McCarthy / Kennecott back in the 80’s on our honeymoon, when it was an actual ghost town. It is now a park but still really fun to visit.
Then, of course, back to Gulkana for the night.