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Thread: Places to fly family & friends in the upper 49

  1. #1
    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Places to fly family & friends in the upper 49

    Two of my favoriate trips to take on a day flight out of Birchwood around South Central AK are;


    1.) I take them "around the block" ... Birchwood ... Kinik river valley ... Kinik glacier ... Lake George ... sprial up over Colony Glacier ... decent into College fijords ... out to Wells Passage, then Passage cannel ... Portage Pass ... right turn over Girdwood, up over Crow pass and down Eagle River valley and back to Birchwood.

    2.) I also take them on the "National Geographic Special" ... Out of Birchwood to the north west gradual climb up to 15k (if there are no smokers are onboard) ... Up the Ruth, through "One Shot Pass" over to the face of Foraker, turn arround get back over th the Ruth ... decend in a sprial to about 500 ft over the upper Ruth Glacier and then down the Great Hall and out to Talkeetina ... stop at the Road house and let them have a beer and what ever, then back down the Big Su ... low level, about tree line until about the Yetna, back up and back to Birchwood.

    Anyone else have a "standard visitor trip" that makes them ... OHooooo & Awhhhhhh

  2. #2

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    My standard trip is a little different...but then Bristol Bay is a little different. My standard trip is actually a tour down the Naknek River to see the local area from the air, then along the coastline up to Levelock, leapfrogging both sides of the bay, to look at all the operational and abandoned canneries and villages. After that, it depends on the time and interest of the passenger(s). Sometimes we mostly come back over the tundra, sometimes all the way up the Alagnak to Kulik, down American Creek, and home.
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    You pretty much nailed it with the 1st option. I'm actually doing that route again tonight with the in-laws. I'm interested in what others do as my staple is getting...a little boring. Well, I shouldn't say that because its a nice flight, but for me as the pilot it would be nice to have a few other trips in the back pocket.

    I'm on floats, and sometimes I just jump from lake to lake, but doing that doesn't present the glaciers and mountain peaks that most enjoy.

    Good thread!
    Jason

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    Try going south along the flatlands of the Kenai Peninsula. Hang a left and pass over Swan Lake and the Kenai River. Thence up the Lower Russian, cross Lower Russian Lake, head on up to the Upper Russian Lake, hang a left to cross the upper end of Cooper Lake, cross Kenai Lake, and take the highway back to Turrnagain Arm. Plenty of water for landings, lots of awesome scenery, including the Harding Ice Fields, and a good chance to see sheep, moose, bears, etc . . . . .

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    One of my favorite places to go on floats is the un-named lake a few miles beyond and above the head of Bear Trap Bay at the head of Port Gravina in Prince William Sound. The Lake is not ice free until late July or early August. A flight from Anchorage could be as mountainous and glaciered as you might want just by flying up the Colony Glacier and down into Prince William Sound descending over Surprise Glacier into Harriman Fjord. At the mouth of Harriman Fjord abeam Packenham Point (lots of dead old trees still standing there on the beach probably from 1964 earth quake/tsunami) angle very slightly to the left to cross Port Wells to the mouth of the Avery River at a place called Golden. (Check google earth for a graphic display) It is the first obvious valley north of the mouth of Esther Passage. Climb up that valley on the left side and toward the head of the valley circle back to the right go out across the lowest high ridge line. There are often goats on that ridge line. You'll then see the uppermost and largest (quite landable) lake of 4 lakes you'll fly over as you descend into Cascade Bay (Great waterfall there flowing into Eglik Inlet).


    From there you can hug the convoluted shoreline to cross the mouths of Unakwik Inlet, Cedar Bay, Long Bay and onward to behind Glacier Island. On the back side of Glacier Island take a left toward the Columbia Glacier. There will be miles of floating ice from the glacier. From there, cross the terrain to Valdez Arm and over the mountains eastward crossing over or beyond the heads of Landlock Bay, Port Fidalgo and then Port Gravina. The head of Port Gravina is Called Bear Trap Bay. Fly up the valley beyond Bear Trap Bay just a short distance. You'll see a long waterfall on the right side. It is coming from that un-named lake I mentioned at the beginning.


    The approach to the lake requires hugging the cliffy terrain along the south side of the lake and over the steep ravine (pink granite scree) beyond the inlet of the lake, followed by a tight turn at an appropriate spot to descend onto the inlet end of the lake. This approach allows for a go around. Approaching from over the outlet is probably easier and less challenging,l but there is no go around possible on short final. The thing that is most amazing about the first approach is the way the amazing glacial blue color of the lake engulfs you as you get closer and closer to the water. There are places to easily beach your plane on soft sand and some really short, but scenic alpine hiking.


    I've been into this lake in a super cub with two of us on board and in a 185 with three of us. It would probably be inadvisable to try getting out in a 185 at anything approaching full gross weight.


    For the trip back to Anchorage you could follow the shoreline around to cross the mouth of Port Wells and then to Whittier, Portage Pass and Turnagain Arm back to Anchorage.Attachment 72398
    Last edited by Monguse; 07-24-2013 at 15:22. Reason: bad formatting

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    Member Akheloce's Avatar
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    Pretty standard here... PAHO to Pt Graham and Nanwalek, Seldovia... Stop for chow, Halibut cove, Bradley Lake, Fox River, Caribou Lake, back to Stone Step and PAHO. Nice short tour, with a nice lunch at the Tidepool if desired.
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    Member ocnfish's Avatar
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    I always get the turkey avacodo sandwitch at the tide pool ... thanks, knowing a nice scenic rout after an hour and ten from PABR at about 6000 ft is something I will keep in mind.

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