It’s beautiful at Smiley Creek

The Women’s Airworthy Symposium has begun at Smiley Creek, Idaho and I am amazed by the sheer beauty of Idaho.

Smiley Creek Lodge & Sawtooth Mountains

I feel so lucky to be here, to be sitting outside at a picnic table at 6:00 a.m. on this chilly, clear, crisp morning in the mountains. I’m soaking up the sounds, the view and the smell of pine in the air – all alone. The mountains are in front of me to my north, the grass strip is just off to the east and the lodge and cabins are behind me.


Christina Chapman, who is hosting this symposium for women pilots, has kept us all very busy since arrival.  Introductions and flying history from all the women – a remarkable group of ladies! Then a short introduction about this event from Christina whose enthusiasm is contagious! Next was ground school/mountain flying instruction from John with Sun Valley Aviation who will also be available to give one on one instruction in the owners’ planes or Sun Valley Aviation’s turbo 206 the next few days. And last was a presentation by Galen Hanselman, writer and author of many mountain and canyon flying books. He’s the guru on the subject of mountain/canyon/back-country flying – and not just in Idaho. He gave us a great overview of the mountain strips of Idaho and the criteria he uses to calculate how hazardous each backountry airport is.


At 8:00 a.m. I’m flying with Galen, departing Smiley Creek Airport for Sulphur Creek Ranch Airport for breakfast. Then the plan is to photograph a couple of other back-country airports for a current project he is working on. Should be a great day in Idaho with one of the best back-country pilots anywhere. Am I lucky or what!??!

Here I am with Anne Wright in Ketchum, ID, the only picture I've got with people in it so far! Today that will change - my camera's going to be taking it all in!


  • Victoria Bond
    Posted at 08:26h, 10 July Reply


    Enjoy. Please say hello to Galen for me and ask him to autograph your Fly Idaho books!

    After 15 days in Idaho, had to go back to work. Camped in Atlanta and that is one of my favorites, definitely a one way in/ out strip but the best hot springs!!!

    Leaving for DC this morning for a week but hope to fly next weekend!

    Please send more photos

    • Lisa Martin
      Posted at 13:01h, 10 July Reply

      Atlanta looks nice. Is Atlanta down by Murphy Hot Springs? I found it in the Fly Idaho book, but can’t pick it out on the Backcountry map.

  • Judy Birchler
    Judy Birchler
    Posted at 18:14h, 08 July Reply

    We miss you Susan! We’re really are having an incredible time. Anne got to fly with Wendy this morning, Lisa & Stephanie took some backcountry flying instruction and Gail & I flew with Galen. Flying’s a whole different ballgame out here!

  • Susan
    Posted at 14:55h, 08 July Reply

    What a great adventure!! Sounds like you’re having a great time! Keep the updates coming!!!

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