January 31st, 2006
For my dad’s birthday I offered to take him flying with a friend who, since I last roamed the canyons of the southwest with him, has learned to fly and bought a plane. We had to wait for good weather–which we finally had in December (yes, this is a belated post). We took off from Everett and headed out towards Glacier Peak. We flew by Big Four Mountain where I had climbed Spindrift Couloir and then over the famed Ptarmigan Traverse. Dropping down over Cascade Pass we flew by Sahale Arm and Boston Basin, alpine terrain where I’ve taken my parents for backpack trips. To our left was the 5000 foot face of Johannesberg, an impressive pile of loose rock and hanging glaciers on which I’ve had the unfortunate experience of a forced bivoauc. Early in the climb my partner fell 25 feet, messing up his knee and breaking a rib, which slowed us down just enough.
The turbulence over the mountains was…significant. Yes, I used the bag.
With a brief stop in Concrete, we then slalomed down the Skagit River buzzing the trees and talking about which gravel bar would be good for a landing. Dusk fell as we emerged from the Cascades, the lights below blinking into a lifesize road atlas. With the whole of Puget Sound glistening in the reflected glory of a clear-skied sunset we made our approach to Everett, banked into the final leg, and made a graceful touchdown.
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