Flying through the clouds

Idaho Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
Part of the rocky top on Paris

My boss recently told me that I needed to get to all of my sites before the snows, get some site surveys done.  "ok" I said "but I'm gonna need a helo"

After talking to the helicopter guys it was decided that today was the best we were gonna see.  It was an absolutley perfect day to fly, the weekend before brought snow to the region but today was crystal clear with miles of visibility.

We started out in the small town of Swan Valley, ID.  From there we made a southern bearing towards Paris Peak.  Paris Peak is a beautiful mountain just above Bear Lake and the town of (appropriately) Paris.  The site itself sits on a rocky top that has no safe landing zone, so we decided to land in a field just below the site and hike up.

Paris from the air
  About half way to the top it occured to me once again that I am no longer 19, at 10,000 ft (3300m), being a flatlander for the past 7 years, and after just recovering from a cold, I needed to slow down a bit.  After a brief talk with myself ("come on Sally boy!!! get off your ass NANCY!!!!) I decide I wasn't going to die from a little altitude and just went for it, and was greatly rewarded.  This mountain is beautiful, you can see forever from the top.  I knew I had a job to do but had a tough time concentrating for the view.  It really stirs you to see the hoof prints of mountain goats where you walk.

After doing my work and hiking down to the helo, it was off to Stewart.  This mountain has been eluding me all summer.

Paris from the air
  I had spent months looking on maps and topo prgrams to narrow down where this site might be, NO ONE seemed to know.  Finally, two days before I had to go, I got a hold of someone who had a rough idea and a few GPS coordinates that may or may not have been correct.  Come to find out, helicopter pilots aren't exactly fond of "rough guesses", but he was a cool guy and didn't mind looking around a bit.  Stewart is also a gorgeous site with miles and miles to behold.  Good to know there is a road up here, but with already calf deep snow, it will be a while.  Off to Caribou.

Caribou was on our way back to the Helibase, again we couldn't land too near the site, but I don't mind walking.  The site is on the windward side of a steep cliff, with cornices already froming in the knee deep snow it took me a while to wander my way to the shelter.

Paris from the air
  As I did my work I started to get a bit of an eery feeling, you know that feeling you get when you are a little kid and your two older ugly sisters are sneaking up behind you, one holding a makeup bag and the other a curling iron?  I decided to take a look outside and was immediatley met with a bit of a scary memory:

Last year, while in Alaska, I was on a site doing some work.  Suddenly a front moved in and we were immediately stuck, let me tell you now there is no lonelier feeling than being stuck on an Alaskan mountain top with no way off and no hope of rescue for at least two days.  Luckily, as suddenly as it moved in, it moved on.  Giving us about a ten minute window to make our hasty escape.

Hoof prints of a mountain goat, gettin a little close if you ask me.

Having a shudder of a memory, I decided to lock up quick and get back to the helo.  Making a quick walk in knee deep I got there in time for us to actually make a decision, make a go or wait it out.  Our pilot, nice guy that he was, turned to me and asked "what do you think?"  "I think", was my response "YOU'RE the pilot", "oh yeah".  It was decided that we could make it just under the cloud cover.  As we lifted off and looked back I saw the site getting quickly socked in, would have been a long walk.

As we flew back to the helibase I considered the times I hate dealing with some of the B.S. that comes with a Government job, then as I looked out at the beautiful setting flying past my window I remembered once again.  I love this job. 

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Part of the rocky top on Paris
Part of the rocky top on Paris
Paris from the air
Paris from the air
Paris from the air
Paris from the air
Paris from the air
Paris from the air
Hoof prints of a mountain goat, ge…
Hoof prints of a mountain goat, g…
Hoof prints of a mountain goat, ge…
Hoof prints of a mountain goat, g…
Bear Lake in the distance
Bear Lake in the distance
I left this sideways just to make …
I left this sideways just to make…
Paris Peak
Paris Peak
Paris Peak
Paris Peak
More hoof prints
More hoof prints
More hoof prints
More hoof prints
Lindsey, my helo manager was likin…
Lindsey, my helo manager was liki…
Our helo, helf way to the top.
Our helo, helf way to the top.
Nice framed shot of distant mounta…
Nice framed shot of distant mount…
LZ at Caribou, long way down the o…
LZ at Caribou, long way down the …
Stewart from the air
Stewart from the air
That eery feeling coming back
That eery feeling coming back
clouds were rolling in fast
clouds were rolling in fast
I took a moment for a quick snap, …
I took a moment for a quick snap,…