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This morning, we were about to set out for a hike with Ellie when George offered to take us for a flightseeing trip instead. (George and his wife Dorothea are in their 80s, perhaps, and live in a town not too far away. They had decided to stop by for a day or two. They often just fly around and camp at different places, explore, hunt, you name it!)
After making some adjustments to his plane (i.e. putting a sleeping bag and a mattress in the back for me to sit on since the back seat had been taken out for their golden retriever, Fellar), George, Danette and I took off, simply to see the area. George has been flying for 42 years (15,000-some flight hours) so it was no big deal putting our lives in his hands. But at times, when the little plane his a bit of an air pocket and you feel your intestines shifting, I was thankful not to be afraid of dying... :) Not that I thought we would, though.
We flew over a bald eagle, past the most magnificent waterfalls with frozen stalagmites at the foot of the falls, past the glaciers and then landed at a little air strip called Peavine Bar. It used to be a cabin for explorers who'd come panning for copper in these rivers! We saw some wild rabbits (huge ones! OK, not like deer-sized, but bigger than what I'm used to seeing) and putzed around the cabin. Many of the journal entries were from campers who had been hiking in the Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, some even in the winter! Some talked of seeing bears.
After walking around the area, we decided to take a last shot at the plane.
As we're standing there, waiting for George to take the picture, both Danette and I heard a loud sound, almost like a short roar. Well, George hadn't heard a thing. He's hard of hearing. As we looked over our shoulder, one of the rabbits had come back out of the bush onto the trail and stood frozen, staring into the direction from where the sound came.
Rrrrraf! We heard it again. At this time, the rabbit made a beeline, and George thought he'd go check it out. He didn't see anything. But we heard it a third time!
I was trying to rack my brain making sure I remember what frequency Ellie said they're on, just in case we had to radio them. We were very happy when George came back to the plane and we took off.
On the way home, we passed the glaciers again, and three herds of mountain sheep. From a distance, they simply look like specks of show on the mountains. We landed back at the lodge just in time for a wonderful lunch, followed by an afternoon and evening of reading, relaxing, visiting, listening to Glacier Scientist Chris tell about his explorations of the day, and looking at photos.
(Thursday) Not sure what's up for today, but I do believe Ellie will be taking her new gun along to ward off any uninvited friends. :)