What an incredible day of flying. We started the day by flying over the Rockies at 15,000 feet. It was gorgeous - scattered clouds and great views of the majestic peaks below us. According to the maps we were at least 2000 feet above at all times, but sometimes it felt as if you could reach out and touch the mountains around us. Truly magnificent. We then transitioned through the foothills, until we reached genuine prairie. There was an incredible cloud bank over the Prairie section of our route, and we played in the clouds for a while. I love the feeling of approaching a cloud and feeling the rush as it engulfs the plane, shakes you a little, then you emerge to blue sky. Of course, these were small, fluffy white clouds, not the CVs or large clouds that can either carry a lot of water or suck you up into an electrical storm. We left those behind us in the south!
We had three legs today: Williams Lake (CYWL) to Grand Prairie (CYQU); Grand Prairie to Fort McMurray (CYMM); Fort McMurray to Stony Rapids (CYSF). Each leg was a distinctive terrain - the Rocky Mountains, the Prairies, and the more barren flatland of the North. There was no snow on the ground, just immeasurable tracks of flat, sparse land with thousands of lakes. We went over an hour without seeing any sign of civilization before arriving at Stony Rapids.
Stony Rapids is a nice surprise. With a population of 250 people, the town is minimally resourced, but we found a cozy hotel called "Al's place" where Sheila, Al's wife, runs a great kitchen and keeps the rooms perfectly clean and nicely appointed. She is also full of terrific stories, having grown up on reserve in North Quebec, and lived in the North most of her life. Did you know that there was a 22 year old surveyor killed by a wolf pack three years ago not far from here? Also, her recommendation in meeting a polar bear is to give him his space. Back away slowly and let him be. This is not dissimilar to how we deal with the black bears in North Van that we occasionally meet while trail running.
Enough typing - on to the photos. The shots of the mountains are worth checking out, IMHO.
Over and out,