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on Dec 3, 2019 in Aviation

Wilderness Strip

“You wanna go and see some Mountain Goats?” Most would think they are about to take a drive up a hill, take a walk and then see some Mountain Goats. But it was Addison asking me which means a plane is involved and an adventure is about to unfold. Having intimate knowledge of everything aviation in Washington, Idaho, Montana and points south, when he says he’s filled the 185 with gas, you have no clue just where you might end up. So Sharon, Brent, Jake and I got in the 185 with winter survival gear and took off.

Addison being Addison, he had Jake in the front to fly us out to the Lake Pend Oreille, flying all the way to the old WWII sub base at Farragut (that’s a whole story onto itself). There, on the south end is a giant face that slips into the lake where the goats can be found. In fact, we found eleven grazing on the slope. We were on our second orbit when Addison said, “Let’s go to Magee” and off we go. Addison checks in to homebase to let them know where we were going, made sure bread crumbs were being dropped and off we turned to Magee.

Magee is a wilderness strip in Idaho at the bottom of a beautiful canyon. We make two passes of the strip checking for obstructions, critters, mud and after determining we could make a safe landing, flaps were set and down we went. Addison is a very talented pilot and had us down and parked as if landing on a feather pillow. And once down, out we were exploring the area.

All I had with me was the Z6 / Z214-70f2.8, Jake had his Z50 and Brent, he didn’t even have time to set up his faithful GoPros. I shot in all B&W because we had dark, overcast skies, fall color had long past. That said, it is wilderness and very gorgeous. Once down and exploring the creek full of fish, Addison told us of adventures he wants to fly us into next summer to fly fish. That got Jake and my attention! After signing the book so it was recorded he was the last to land at Magee in 2019, off we were back into the 185.

With a simple, clean launch, off we headed back to Spokane with Brent now at the controls. We made a small divert to fly over Horse Heaven, another dirt strip from WWII, created to store P-40s in case Spokane was attacked. It was an incredible afternoon of flying, history and exploring! It just goes with the first advice I give photographers wanting to get into aviation photography. Just show up!

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