Monday, September 28, 2015

Framed by Wing and Float


We put down on Lake Aleknagik, glided into the beach, and unloaded our gear into the shuttles that would carry us back to Dillingham. The week at the Coachman was done. Our pilot, Steve, became our driver and offhandedly observed...

Now comes the dangerous part of our trip.

Yeah, I replied, statistically speaking we were safer in the air than we are on the road.

Not just that. Look at this van!

Funny that he felt less comfortable in a ten-year-old Dodge than he did in the sixty-year-old de Havilland. Funnier still, I did too.

When I told folks that I was going to Alaska they were understandably envious, but most hesitated when I described our daily routine, predicated on venturing out into the wilderness in small floatplanes. More than a few inquired of my life insurance.

But in his book, Top of the Flood: Halfway Through a Fly Fishing Life, my friend Tosh Brown sums it up nicely:

“I’ve never quite understood why some will readily strap themselves into a 300-ton aluminum firecracker and then balk when offered a ride in a small plane that actually makes aerodynamic sense.”

The argument didn’t sway many.

But it’s their loss for while the fishing was fantastic, the flying was better. We soared over forest and water and tundra and rock. We glided high in bluebird skies and crawled a scant three-hundred feet off the deck under impenetrable white ceilings. We watched from an unparalleled viewpoint as Fall found the Tikchik and painted the Togiak in autumnal brilliance. It was simply breathtaking and I’d have happily lain down my fly rods to ride the winds all day.

I took hundreds of pictures from the air but none do justice to the spectacle. Not a one. But I’ll try to show you, as best as I can, Fall’s arrival in Alaska, framed quite nicely by wing and float.







Thanks, Steve and Tor, for sharing your wings. It was a joy.

If this handful of images isn't enough, feel free to check out another dozen here, including some shots of the horse itself, the lovely de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.

Note: Click on the images to see them in larger format. It's a step closer to the real thing, I suppose, but still pales...

9 comments:

FinFollower said...

Beautiful country. What a great way to see it.

FireGirl_Jess said...

Love this. Nice shooting, Mike!

Jeff Holberg said...

Beautiful stuff, Mike!

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks folks! It's an amazing experience.

Kevin Frank said...

Great pics!

CathyB said...

One word: superb.

Chris said...

Fantastic. I've got to get up there.

Alex Landeen said...

Wow, dude.
Looks like a great ride.

Justin Carfagnini said...

Beautiful!