22 July 2011

Dubai to Seattle with Al Hepburn Part 14

Our non-flying day in Anchorage was spent - flying. We got a ride in a Cessna 206 floatplane of Rust's Flying Service up to the glacier. It was neat - we landed on the lake at the end of the glacier and taxied beside the ice walls. Not in the same class as the icebergs in Ilulissat, Camilla, but still pretty impressive. Also there were a few moose on the river flats.

Later in the day, we took off and flew VFR around Mt. McKinley (the highest mountain in North America at 20,300'). Not too sure about the regs regarding height above terrain that goes above 18,000', but ATC said we could not go above 17,500', so we actually never went above 16.5. Got some spectacular photos.

Next day, I was able to convince Wei that 1300 miles direct without a guaranteed tailwind was not a good plan and we decided to stop for breakfast/lunch at Juneau, the state capital (population 30,000). We were IFR at FL270 and could see Mt Logan (~19,000') off to the east, so asked ATC for a deviation to fly around it. No problem. Imagine trying this in China!

We grabbed a burger in Donna's Diner at Juneau (first burger of the trip) and continued on top of a cloud deck down to Boeing Field Seattle. The hotel Wei had booked turned out only to have one bed in the room, but our friendly taxi driver found another. I snuck out at 5:45 next morning and took the high speed ferry to Victoria BC, where I was met by Roy Olmstead, a long time friend from AECL days. Now enjoying some R&R in Campbell River BC before returning to Ontario on Sunday.

That's it, folks. The last update. I hope you enjoyed the tale.

Al Hepburn

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