Flying

Watching the birds gambol overhead makes us jealous for the views that they have…20150514 5179 raven flying r…so we decided to take a flight around our “neighborhood” to see what the birds see.  We flew with Doug on Nordic Air, on a glorious clear day.20150505 4852 nordic air jim rThis is the NW corner of Mitkof Island, showing our downtown, the harbors, and the airport.  Hopefully you can see why we find it so beautiful here.  The waterway in front of the harbors is Wrangell Narrows, and the water on the far left is Frederick Sound, where you can see whales just about all the time in the summer.20150505 4843 downtown petersburg very wide rPetersburg has three harbors: North, Middle, and South.  We’re in the North Harbor (shown in the photo below), about half-way up the left dock.20150505 4922 north harbor rAcross from town on Kupreanof Island is Petersburg Creek, and it’s more dramatic to see at low tide as it wends its way through a glacier-cut valley, deep into the island.20150505 4916 petersburg creek low tide rWe turned to the north and headed into the Coastal Mountains on the mainland, soaring over the Patterson Glacier and it’s watershed, then near the Devil’s Thumb – a mountain landmark that sits along the US/Canada border.20150505 4961 devils thumb closeup rDoug flew us over the higher elevations of the Le Conte Glacier – the southernmost tidewater glacier in North America, and I loved to see all the patterns in the ice and snowfield.20150505 4940 snow textures rWe saw ripples, catspaws, seracs, and even waves like these…20150505 4981 glacial waves rIt was exciting to fly down the Le Conte Glacier and out over the water, and we appreciated a chance to see how ice-choked the inlet is.  While we’ve been able to get close to a lot of glaciers in SE Alaska, we won’t risk taking ADVENTURES in to see the Le Conte – there’s too much brash ice.  We’d rather pay the local tour boat to take us in – it’s a jet powered heavy duty aluminum boat, and it can bump through the ice safely.20150505 4997 le conte glacier and inlet rJust to the east of the Le Conte is the 370 mile long Stikine River, running from Canada into the US, terminating in an enormous delta.20150505 5047 stikine river delta rSalmon, moose, bears, wolves, and birds all make their home in and around the Stikine.  In spring and fall migrating birds stop along its shores.  The photo above was taken at low tide, and you can see the extensive mud flats that extend well into the sea, effectively blocking water passage over the top of Mitkof Island for all but small, shallow-draft boats.  Looking northwards you can see more of the grand Coastal Mountains as the river winds around.20150505 5041 stikine looking north rWe wrapped up our flight with a run down Frederick Sound past the Petersburg Airport, around downtown, and then a gentle landing.  We will DEFINITELY go flying with Doug again, to savor the birds-eye view of our island, glacier, river, town, and the mountains we see every day.20150505 5066 petersburg airport angle r

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