Flying through the clouds
Idaho Travel Blog› entry 4 of 6 › view all entries
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.
After doing my work and hiking down to the helo, it was off to Stewart. This mountain has been eluding me all summer.
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.
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.
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.