We're still in disbelief that Mike actually retired from professional life. It turns out that, in addition to worldwide travels with Ginny, he's been busy as a spokesman for Piper's Seneca V. Check him out on Piper's website here (click to launch the lower left video).
Over the years, Parkwest pilots Mark and Kathie Cassidy have faithfully collected National Park passport stamps, both on and off tour. We've become accustomed to receiving an unexpected postcard from some Eastern Park or obscure national historic site. This week, our mail service delivered a surprise treat: National Parks-themed candles, sent from the Cassidys. The pine-scented Rocky Mountain NP is wafting through our home office as we speak. Thanks, guys!
Many of you know that Collin has been diligently training for the Moab "Other Half" Marathon, which was held yesterday. He exceeded his training goals and ran it in just over two hours. Marisa fast-walked it, and finished sore but satisfied at 3:12. We thought about all of you 2013 Parkwest pilots as we ran much of the canyon country that we rafted this past year.
Made it to Eureka!
It's early morning in Eureka's Carter House. The flock is scattering for home this morning, though four planes are headed for Grand Junction. Despite all the turmoil of the week, we had a great tour and ended on a high note with our Super Tree Guide, Jenny Hanson, dazzling us with the redwoods. No IFR departures necessary this morning, but it looks to be a windy ride home to GJ.
We are HERE.
We were able to maintain our flight routes north to Redding, California despite knowing that we would not be visiting or sleeping in Lassen Volcanic National Park. After a Chinese feast at Peter Chu's Sky Room, we ventured off in the bus for Burney Falls which, according to Teddy Roosevelt, should be considered the 8th Wonder of the World and California's most spectacular waterfall. It was a gorgeous autumn day to take a mile hike up, down and around the falls, with gold leaves falling from the trees and late afternoon sun warming our faces. Our replacement lodging was found in McCloud, California, a pretty and historic mill town at the base of Mount Shasta. No rented sheets and coin-operated showers here, and the after-dinner entertainment was Dan the Piano Man, delighting Parkwest pilots yet again!
When we learned that we would not be able to take our group to Wuksachi Lodge in Sequoia National Park, we scouted around for a suitable substitute. We kept our flights intact to Reedley, then bused just 30 minutes away to Wonder Valley Ranch Resort, California's first dude ranch. There may or may not have been a bus trip into the National Park today, which may or may not have involved the illegal parking of a bus in order that our pilots may or may not enjoy the Grant Grove. A beautiful picnic and hike at Hume Lake topped off the bus tour, and a sing-a-long hayride--pulled by horses Ben and Jerry--topped off our stay at Wonder Valley.
Always during a tour I am reminded just how small and powerless I am. Usually it's the landscape that reminds me of this. On this trip, it's the landscape AND Congress! My thanks to both for helping me see (for the umpteenth time) the value of patience, resilience and simply asking for help. I am excited about our days to come--they weren't the ones I planned a year ago, but they are sure to bring new sights and unexpected adventure. A few shots from the afternoon Hummer tour are below.
We are all settled in to beautiful L'Auberge de Sedona on a beautiful fall day. Cat Herder has been a little busier than normal this trip, trying to, well, REINVENT THE TRIP! We were unable to visit Petrified Forest and Painted Desert by ground, and we will be shut out of the parks and lodging at Sequoia and Lassen Volcanic National Parks. I think we've cinched up some suitable replacement lodging and activities. The flying destinations remain intact, which makes Collin's life relatively easy, though I'm having to recruit his assistance in solving the our current predicament. Some photos from the past few days are below.
The updated flight track can be found here.
There's nothing like a Federal government shutdown to get your blood circulating in the morning when you're in the middle of guiding a National Parks tour! Cat Herder went from the bed to the computer to review various bits of news, a few Chambers of Commerce websites, and many alternate destination possibilities. In the end, I settled into the day at-hand, and ushered our group from Moab to Winslow, over spectacular southeastern Utah and northern Arizona (see the track). It's such amazing country out here--Canyonlands, the Painted Desert, Navajo and Hopi country, Monument Valley. Kinda makes the rest of your troubles go up in smoke.
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!