Mar 2013 Amal Ajmi says “Happy Spring!” from Alaska
Hi all, spring has FINALLY come to the interior and with the lengthening days comesâ€¦â€¦â€¦..you guessedÂ it, SKI flying!!! I am very new to this area of aviation (20 hours), but found a primo tie-down spot thisÂ year that allows me easy pull-in and pull-out capabilities. My 5â€™2â€ 115 lb., little person frame, (havingÂ no issues moving my bird around on tundra tires in the summer) is constantly pondering why I becomeÂ so weeny during snow seasonâ€¦..it finally dawned meâ€¦.skis are a little DIFFERENT!
Anyway, haveÂ been able to put more hours on skis this year and just came back from my first weekend trip up north.Â Figured I would share.
My friend has a homestead just north of the Yukon River. I have flown in a few times in the summer forÂ a day of fly-fishing or a weekend getaway. This year I decided to try some winter fun. I also thought itÂ might be nice to bring in sweet treats, fuel and some building materials for my buddy, the homesteader,Â in exchange for past delights from his summer garden here in town.
First things first, the flying was amazing. Had to wait a day to get in due to low visibility, but both inÂ and out flights were spectacular. Some pictures while I flew about show you my definition of SEVEREÂ CLEAR. The White Mountains were boldly bedecked in sparkly winter attire. It is amazing and humblingÂ to realize while you are flying around, just how small you areâ€¦â€¦I was always looking for critters, tryingÂ to affirm that I was not the only life in that big space, sometimes you forget in winter when thingsÂ seem asleep beneath the white blanket of snow. Moose tracks here and there, but nothing poppedÂ out this trip. I tried to imagine the chickadees and grosbeaks flying around below me going about theirÂ livesâ€¦Only when I landed and shut the engine down did I truly hear them along with the local gray jaysÂ and ravens.
Landing!!!! Yes, am sure I am not THE ONLY one to make this mistake, but I was fortunate in thatÂ it was easily corrected, fun andÂ immediately laughable!!! Laying tracks is fun, and I love doing it.Â Unfortunately, I have only practiced this technique 2 years running in an empty, lightly-weighted bird.Â What I didnâ€™t realize was that I was so heavy this time and that the snow was pretty warmâ€¦..yup youÂ guessed it, one minute I was floating along, the next, whoomp!!! Hmmmmmm, ok, I shut her down andÂ was immediately grateful it was not worse.
My buddy was watching me in the nicely stamped down tieÂ down spot he had made for my bird, came over and said â€œwhy â€˜d you do that?â€ Speechless, I just saidÂ â€œHIâ€. Anyway, we dug her out and snow-shoed a nice packed path to the tie down spot. I started her up,Â moved her over, tied her down, put all her covers on and tapped her cowling to say â€œThanks for beingÂ patient with meâ€. It took about 2 hours, and man was I hungry after that! Dinner was chicken, veggiesÂ and pasta with homemade pesto that I made for him last fall. Yum-eeee.
The next day we snow-shoed a nice packed trip for the bird to use when I left. Lots of fun and myÂ buddyâ€™s dogs (he has 35+, yes he is a musher) decided to help out. Another 2 hours and we were happyÂ with the results and then went off to have some fun looking around the Â homestead. The packed stripÂ was fabulous the next day when I left.
There is something so calming about being away from the road system. The quiet is so profound, IÂ hear my heart beat. The world slows down, no phones, no stress, no nothingâ€¦… The stars twinkleÂ so brightly, dancing in a deep black sky seemingly happy to have a clean unpolluted canvas to shineÂ inâ€¦.Sounds travels differently, you can actually hear a jay fly and perch nearby on a branch, watchingÂ you, hoping you have some sort of food you are willing to â€œaccidentlyâ€ drop. You hear wildness; you feelÂ it, if you try just a littleâ€¦..
My favorite thing is to wake up in the middle of the night to wolves howling, but I will take a dog teamÂ any day. It is so seemingly eerily sadâ€¦but a shared contemplation of the feeling lessens the rawnessÂ somehowâ€¦â€¦in that all the dogs engage in this activityâ€¦all singâ€¦…so maybe it is more a longing.Â Whichever it is, it is lovely, and the dogs gifted me with 2 nights of it!!!!
I envy my buddy his seclusion. He has a simple life and I find it amazing. I left the homestead and flewÂ back home, tied the bird down and covered her up, got caught in traffic on the drive home, turned onÂ the lights, took a shower, nuked some dinner and then went to bedâ€¦something was absentâ€¦â€¦I missedÂ the howls that night and woke up to my refrigerator hum turn offâ€¦.rolled over and dreamed of goingÂ back up to the homestead next weekend. 🙂
Amal Ajmi, PA-11