Leg 11

Back across Canada

Places revisited and the Trench


The Kenai RangeThe good weather window held the next day and having been slowed by the GO - NO go manor of traveling, we wanted to take advantage of the chance to head back. We had seen the greatest scenery of the trip. After all, the season was slowly coming to an end. We have learned that early June would be the best time to do this trip again, though it might still be a little cold. Our group of nine had already shrunk with some having gone their own way, such as to the Arctic Circle or deciding to take a different route once in Alaska.

Five aircraft took off from Homer and climbed away north along the Kenai Range. A broken overcast spread a diffused light across the large ice fields and and countless smaller and larger peaks. Keeping in constant contact we negotiated our way to Portage where we found the passage to the Prince William Sound open. One of our group decided to take the passage to Valdez and then rejoin at Gulkana. The other four chose the more direct route past Sheep Mountain and Tahnet Pass..   


The mineral mountainsThe wind was favorable and spared us from turbulence. Again we passed the magnificently colored mountain ridges near Monarch Mountain ( north of the Matanuska Glacier). It was amazing what range of colors the collection of minerals could produce. It was like a rainbow had touched the mountainside. 

End of the day at Whitehorse CanadaThe sun was with us as we said good-bye to Alaska at Northway with a lunch of hamburgers and fries. Then the five of us continued east along the Alaska Highway to Whitehorse. Flying most of the time about a thousand feet above ground (sometimes a little lower) to check out the wild countryside and winding rivers in the hope of discovering a large animal. We had no luck. Nevertheless it was an amazing experience. The Canadian customs process was swift and uncomplicated as we knew our way around from last time when we were northbound.


Watson LakeAfter a quiet night we had come to the decision to do the infamous "Trench" which goes from Watson Lake to Prince George. So we retraced the route back to Watson Lake which would lead us to the "Trench". This time we could enjoy the valleys in the calm of the day. With the group only half the size, the pit stop was quick and soon we started the long trip through a chain of valleys. 


Dreamy ValleyFrom Watson Lake we fly up the Kechika River Valley. At first wide, then as the mountains on both sides became taller, our lateral movement was restricted. There was no road like the Alaska Highway to follow, no town or even a settlement to be seen. Occasionally a lonely log cabin peeked through the dense forests. It seemed like a magical place to spend a season away from the turmoil of our world. 

Untouched nature Lost Heart in the Wild

Flying southeast along the valley we knew that this would be the last day in this beautiful wilderness. It was a great trip, especially experiencing it with a group of pilots and now friends, who would help each other should anything happen.

Terminus MountainOccasionally a landing strip can be found carved out of the bush. It may serve an outback camp or a logging operation. Finbow Airstrip

Finbow Airstrip >>

<< Terminus Mt. Camp 


  Wood Barge on Williston Lake  Wood Processing Plant 

Approaching Williston Lake the valley came to life. Logging was the prime activity. All over the lake and along the shoreline was timber abundantly floating in the water. The hillsides along the waterways were irregular clear cuts or in the process of re-growth. As we continued  further, large barges were making their way to wood processing plants. From here on the world was accessible again by road.  


Soon we passed the well remembered turnoff at McKenzie ( entrance to the valley where we encountered the heavy turbulence). Two planes from our group turned east to Dawson Creek. Three remaining continued along the valley to Prince George. There we refueled and helped ourselves to a snack. The weather was good with a scattered high overcast. John Dale recommended to proceed to Nelson, his home base. So we set our GPS with destination Nelson. For us there was a brief stop at Springhouse necessary to pick up the equipment we had left behind. The grass strip was dry and in good shape for our heavily loaded plane. Soon we were trailing the other two aircraft to the destination of the day.

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This page was serviced last on  12. July 2008