Big Creek Lodge at the airstrip
The afternoon heat caused some bumpiness over the mountains, but Paul flew through it in style while I spent my time gawking out the window at one magnificent view after another. It's a blast trying to pick out places you adventured through on the ground (kayaking the MFS, motorcycling Landmark-Stanley Road, mountain biking around Payette Lake) while flying above in the air. We had to stop in McCall to pick up the required permit from the forest service, and the nice young lady we had spoken to had it ready and waiting for us. We needed to wait out the afternoon heat and thunderstorms which could make landing at Big Creek problematic, so we explored town a little and had a nice Italian dinner with a view of the Lake. The storms cleared after dinner everywhere EXCEPT the Big Creek airstrip, so running out of daylight, we zipped over to the familiar Indian Creek airstrip off the MFS to spend the night. Dirt strip landings are always energizing, but Indian Creek has the added feature of some close trees and a little curve at the end of the runway requiring a small correction just before touch down.
We had Indian Creek to ourselves, and the sound of a nearby river always helps me sleep well, so we got up early, refreshed and ready to get to Big Creek lodge for breakfast. Except for early morning sun glare, the take-off was perfect. We headed downriver over the MFS trying to pick out rapids and other landmarks we remembered from numerous trips before. I'm sure we woke a few rafters with the sound of our engine, just like I've been woken in the past. If you were on the river between Indian Creek and Big Creek on June 27, 2006, GOOD MORNING. We flew up Big Creek, trying to scout it from the air, but aside from a few obvious river wide log jams, it's hard to scout from several hundred feet up. Anything we did notice was mostly forgotten by the time we ever got to it. Soon we were buzzing the Big Creek strip to make sure it was clear to land. The Big Creek landing strip, ranger station and lodge sit in a beautiful, narrow valley high in the mountains. The state of Idaho is to be commended for the great shape they keep this grass strip in. I've seen golf courses that weren't that well maintained. Paul made an awesome landing (click here to see the video), and I even managed to properly work the brake and rudder pedals to help Paul back the plane into it's parking spot for a few days.