It took some doing, but Collin and I found the Parkwest sign amongst the now 72,000+ signs in the Watson Lake signpost forest. It has weathered pretty well--let's hope all our Midnight Sun customers can say the same!
We slept in a campground along the shores of Teslin Lake, a checkpoint many of you may remember. From there we drove the Parkwest air route towards Whitehorse, through other familiar checkpoint names: Johnson's Crossing and Jake's Arm. There isn't much to these highway stops, and even less now with the poor economy. (We learned--again--not to tempt fate where diesel is concerned!)
Wow, life in the Canadian Rockies is great! We slept under towering mountains last night to the sounds of the roaring Saskatchewan River, saw a bear first thing this morning, and traversed our way up the Icefields Parkway past glaciers, milky white rivers, meadows of incredible wildflowers, and a brief rain/snowfall in the high country. We are currently indulging in java and wi-fi in Jasper, Alberta before making our way further into the hinterland.
Still working on Carl's trip: North to Nome. I think Jasper will be a must-see en route!
Many of you know that we've always wanted to see the great Alaska Highway by road, after having done so by air so many times with all of you. We left home yesterday, with truck, trailer, motorcycle, dog and a few other sundries en route to the Last Frontier. We plan to see Parkwest friends in Talkeetna (Don Lee) and Haines (Paul & Amy Swanstrom), among other adventures. To check our progress, follow along on this blog and our SPOT Messenger location updates.
Ten planes, 19 people from Georgia to Germany all contributed to make this tour a fun and memorable trip. Can the September trip top this one?
Internet and other communications went to heck in Sequoia National Park and did not improve in Lassen. By the time we got to Eureka, California, I was so far behind and otherwise engaged in final trip preparations, that I let the blog slide. (For anyone following this blog for meaningful trip updates, my apologies for any panic that may have set in due to a lack of information!) The rest of the tour was fabulous--great scenery, beautiful flying, interesting ground tours (and guides!) and a campfire cookout to remember. I don't believe anyone has ever starved on a Parkwest trip, and this one was no exception. Below is a group photo of all the cats I was herding for the past 11 days, taken in the magical Redwood National Park.
While everyone spent their day differently, I'm sure not one got tired of wandering amongst these impressive giants!
Ten planes left the red rocks of Sedona for the California desert, stopping first at MillionAir in Victorville for fuel and lunch, then on to Reedley, our jump off point for Sequoia National Park. What a treat to have a deluxe motor coach pick us up from this rural airport and transport us in air-conditioned comfort up the 7000' elevation to our perch in the mountains for two nights. Forgive the lack of photos--internet is still blessedly slow and cell phone coverage non-existent in this National Park!
Okay, well I'm not sure how "free" it was when you think about all the great shopping that can be done in this town! But we all appreciated the opportunity to catch our breath a little, before our sunset Hummer tour into the red rock country.
Or as pilots think of it: the USS Sedona aircraft carrier!
It was another gorgeous day of desert flying over the Painted Desert, Meteor Crater and on into Sedona, Arizona. Our timing was perfect--after lunch at the Mesa Grille and a trolley tour, the skies opened up and gave northern Arizona a much-welcomed monsoon shower. Tomorrow we all take a small breather (yoga, spa treatments, horseback riding, shopping at Tlaquepaque) before our sunset Hummer tour up into the red rocks.
Cat Herder (aka Marisa) has been guiding pilot tours in the American West for over twenty years. Keep tabs on your Parkwest pilot friends, National Park news and other tidbits here!