Untamed Land

Untamed Land
Untamed Land

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Journey to the Katmai

 Early in the morning last Wednesday I arrived at the float plane airport of Lake Hood in Anchorage. That is where I climbed into the co-pilot seat of a De Havilland, Beaver that was built in the early 1950's. The pilot was a seasoned bush pilot called, 'Hennie". The seats behind us were taken by a pair of young lawyers from Miami, two women who were friends, one from Seattle, the other from Anchorage, and the back seat was occupied by an Israeli man who barely spoke English. We were all excited to get into the air.
We were off and over the city. Then we headed West, over the mudflats, ( light green strip in the photo above) and across Turnagain Arm.
Shortly we were across Turnagain Arm and flying over the boggy flatlands of the Kenai Wildlife Refuge.
We pointed the floatplane in the general direction of Mt. Iliamna as we headed across Cook Inlet.
On the way we passed Mt. Redoubt, an active volcano that frequently coats Anchorage in a layer of ash.
A little over an hour later and we were getting close to Ilamna, which is also an active volcano.
The light brown color in the center of this photo is evidence of a recent lava flow.
Soon we were passing by Ilamna and headed into an immensity of wilderness.
There was no evidence that humans had ever traversed this grand landscape. The pristine mountains went on forever.
We stayed close to Cook Inlet, and its deep blue waters.
You cannot help but wonder about what lies hidden within the folds of these rugged  mountains? I could not tell where the boundaries of Katmai National Park began, or who owned the surrounding lands?
The pilot was not lost as we turned inland, away from Cook Inlet, and reassured us that soon enough, we would be arriving  at our destination. Did we dare to set down anywhere in this inhospitable land?
After about three and a half hours the rugged mountains receded and we could see our touch down point, Naknek Lake.
You will have to wait until the next post to see what we were doing at Naknek Lake. We were not there to fish even though the fishing there is considered to be world class.

1 comment:

John Holmes said...

Looks like an epic journey - it reminds me of the opening chapter of "Lost Horizon"