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Posts Tagged ‘cessna 170’

To start reading from the beginning, go to May 11, 2008.

Shortly after the packing and stacking of goods
from the NORTH STAR delivery, Donny and MO
disappeared one Sunday into the bright sky in the “new” Cessna. The Cessna
170
Koke used to fly and eventually crashed in, I considered Koke’s
plane. Now, the “new” Cessna 170, the one Donny and I flew¬† from
Duluth to Golovin, I considered our plane. Donny and MO
disappeared that Sunday in our plane. They had the restored hang
glider
(see Jan 2009 #32 entry) with them and had, I supposed, gone looking for
a mountain to jump off of. Actually, they most likely knew
exactly which hill they were going to. They grew up, not in
the Seward Peninsula, but over the Seward Peninsula. After so
many years of flying with their dad then on their own, I suspect they
knew every hill, bend in the stream, isolated cabin and potential
landing strip on the entire peninsula.

I don’t recall my father teaching me about my natural surroundings, but through his energy and
attitude, I developed the attention to nature my father had. Where ever
I’ve lived, I learned the terrain in detail. I know which wild plants
will pop up where and when each season. I know the trees in my
neighborhood and surrounding areas–not necessarily their proper names
but their placement, “style” and “attitude”. I expect the lunar moth at
the same light post each summer and the fungus that suddenly appears and
disappears just as quickly each June. In winter, I expect to find the
same deer path in the snow. Each fall, fresh oak galls are abundant on
the same trees. I find the airy galls scattered on the sides of the road
after the first spring rains. It is the same for me wherever I’ve
lived: Chicago, rural Wisconsin, forested northern Arkansas, Alaska, New
Mexico and Norther Australia. Of all the aboriginal characteristics
that attract me to my Eskimo relatives, Navajo friends and aboriginal
people, it is theirs and mine attention to our surroundings–to the
natural order of things. When one attends to the natural order, one is
also attending to the eternal nature of life. When one is in tune with
the eternal, one is in tune, abstractly, with the spiritual.

Late into the daylight evening Donny and Koke returned. They packed the hang
glider back into the warehouse and prepared for the day’s end without
saying a word about their man-sized kite. I suspect they encountered
another failed attempt at hang gliding in arctic Alaska.

(to be continued) copyright Tamara Ann Burgh, all rights reserved

Map of Seward Peninsula

Map of Seward Peninsula, taken from Wikipedia.com

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To start reading from the beginning, go to May 11, 2008.

After spending a night in Fairbanks, we left in the morning for our final leg of the week long trip. We flew
that day across Alaska back to Golovin. I was proud of the way I managed the trip (in a Cessna 170 — see June
27 entry
): calmly living through a near fatal crash into the Canadian Rockies, twice nearly running out of gas, a strange man
attempting to enter my bed, an impetigo attack of my face (which was nearly gone) and thwarting an abandonment
in Whitehorse by my pilot. We would soon be “home” again. I was looking
forward to finishing my boat project of fiberglass and paint. Despite
all the adventure and near misses I was arriving intact.

Flying above the Seward Peninsula, we could actually see the outline of Golovin Peninsula
when Donny spotted a Fox on the tundra. Without warning, he dropped the
plane several hundred feet and chased the fox. To what purpose? All of
my pride at having survived such an adventurous trip starting in the Fox
River, Joliet, IL with floats; to Duluth, MN; across the Dakotas into
Canada west over the Rockies then across the width of Alaska leaped from
my heart and remained hovering 300 feet above the tundra when Donny
dove towards the fox. Humiliation replace the void when my pride left
behind. I had recently eaten a tuna fish sandwich and it was now all
over my shirt. My iron stomached pilot nearly wretched from the smell.
Serves him right. He couldn’t exit the plane fast enough.

I arrived back to Golovin where all the kids, and some adults, I had known
and befriended met most planes that landed in their village. They
welcomed me back but not without commenting and snickering about the
regurgitated tuna fish down the front of my shirt. If they only knew
what I had just been through.

Donny unloaded my things from the plane including the pink suitcase. One of the boys whose waist
barely cleared the top of the suitcase tried to pick it up and carry it
to the house. “Now don’t you go stealing that suitcase, Tommy.” My
reason for purchasing the pink suitcase, “less likely to get lost or
stolen” for a European trip a couple years previous, was now further
cause for my humiliating return to my father’s birthplace and the
village I would call home far into the winter months.

(to be continued) copyright Tamara Ann Burgh, all rights reserved

Mail Plane in Golovin

Mail Plane in Golovin. Dan is in the orange jump suit and Donny the red shirt

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I’ve been remiss in keeping up with entries but have a good excuse:
been tending to a health crises with my mother. Things are getting back
to normal and I am regrouping with my personal obligations activities.
So, on with the story.

To start reading from the beginning, go to May 11, 2008.

Our trip from White Horse to Haines Junction to our next stop, isolated Burwash Landing, was uneventful — except for the
scenery, of course — until we landed on the rocky dirt pine lined
runway. Burwash sits at historic Milepost 1093 in the the Yukon. It is located
on the shore of Kluane
Lake
. I wasn’t focused on our magnificent surrounds, rather my mind
was on our next challenge.

We were flying in a Cessna 170. It has the two primary tires but also a
rear tire; the plane is what I learned to call a “tail dragger“.

The landing was bumpy, to be expected, until the tail
dropped and “bang — thud!”

“What was that? It sounded serious,” I said.
“I think we hit a groundhog hole,” Donny replied in his
typical no worries tone. I appreciated his everything is fine
demeanor but I knew it didn’t cover up the facts. Everything may
eventually be fine but we both knew we had a problem on our hands even
before we exited the plane to check the damage.

Prior to Burwash Landing, I would have been happy never knowing the physical construction
and mechanics of the trail dragger parts of a Cessna 170. I would have
never noticed or cared about the layered steel spring action and the
necessity of such for a smooth controlled landing. One of the steel
spring plates had been knocked out of position. Fortunately everything
was virtually intact, though it didn’t look as perfectly aligned as it
should have. My pilot concluded that we may have a limp, but we’ll get
home just fine barring any more holes in the runways from Burwash to Golovin.

With some relief, we walked a trail through
the tall brush to a small cafe. After a hamburger we walked back through
the brush in the dark. The stars were incredible and the full moon lit
our way. With my eyes I delighted in the surrounding wilderness; with my
ears I was fully alert to sounds in the 8 foot tall brush indicating
any possibility of bears.

“We must be in bear country,” I said
trying to keep the panic out of my voice.
“Probably,” Donny said
without the slightest hint of concern.

We slept in our bags under
the plane’s wings with a night canopy unlike I’d ever seen before. No
bears that night.

(to be continued) copyright Tamara Ann Burgh, all rights reserved
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