To celebrate my neighbor Lynn’s birthday we went for a sunrise flight over Mount Whitney. Which also meant a nice Mexican meal with Betsy, Lynn and Melodie and a camp-out of sorts at the Bishop airport.
Very early the next morning we took off in the dark southbound so really all I had to do was climb, and not hit the White Mountains to my left nor hit the Sierras to my right. It’s actually pretty easy since both the map in my panel (Avidyne 540) and the software on my iPad (Firelight) show me where the high terrain is and will warn me both audibly and on the screen if I get too close.
Still, even at this hour there are a few cars on highway 395 and it is comforting to fly above them, because theoritically you can’t hit a mountain when flying above a road.
At about 15,000 feet, the pre-sunrise period when the mountains start to emerge from the darkness and the sky fills with color is especially mesmerizing – magic really. The radio is quiet and you know that no one else is out there – we are the only ones experiencing this sunrise in this way.
On the way back we flew just east of the Sierra Crest and got a wonderful view of the Palisades Glacier and even icebergs which one can forget even exist in California.
THEN, a month later:
To celebrate my new book I took up a couple of guys, Kalen, his daughter and Justin, that helped make the book at reality. I slept at the Bishop airport but it was very windy and at about 1:00 am I texted the guys and said the trip was off. I just didn’t want everyone to barf while looking at Whitney, or worse.
But at 4:00 am the wind had died down so I texted again: the flight was back on. To my relief everyone showed up and I did the same thing, lined up southbound and pretty much climbed straight ahead, this time to 16,000 feet for a nice loop around Whitney.
The following images are courtesy of Kalen Glenn. With passengers I don’t take many, if any, photos and I focus on flying the plane.