On Location at Remote Camp 2014On Jul 23, 2014 In the Field 2014
During the flight over, the crew mentioned that the landing with Tony and Paul had been “a little bit hairy”. I guess that shouldn’t be a surprise since, after all, they are flying into the wilderness of Denali Park and attempting to land in the types of terrain that we have been hiking in – uneven, a mixture of grass, tundra, rocks, gravel, shrubs, bushes and small trees – and expecting a beautifully flat, smooth area is likely going to disappoint. But these types of landings are the specialty of a bush pilot, right? The good news is that our landing benefitted from the previously “a little bit hairy” one, because after they touched down the first time they were able to check it out and determine a better, flatter landing spot about 10 yards away.
After about 30-40ish minutes in the air, we touched down at the remote location. The flight was without incident and as I previously mentioned, just incredible. The landing was great. It took us a couple of tries, but we settled with ease. (Or, what seemed like ease to me!) The pilot marked the spot with florescent tape so he would know just were to touch down when he returns for the pick-up. Tony and Paul looked on as we settled to the ground. The location of this camp is not a haphazard choice. Last year Tony took the team to the Riley Creek area near Fang Mountain, the same remote vicinity they had visited in the previous years. This year, to meet the goals of expanding the project area, Tony has been scouting (via a topographic map) an area near Mt. Sheldon that has the rock formations most applicable to the research he and the team want to do. So, unlike last year, actually being able see the site really allowed me to get more context related to the project objectives that Tony and the team have while they are out in the backcountry for the next seven days. Like last year, they will have with no connection to civilization other than a satellite phone (really for use only in case of emergency). We do hope
to have a phone call with WFAA on Thursday morning so stay tuned in hopes the connection takes!
Since it is not certain whether I will be able to visit the location again on the other end we decided to document the arrival and stake our claim of the site.