After being here only a few days I knew that one of the best ways to really see Alaska would be by plane. Luckily, flightseeing is a big business with lots of companies offering multi-hour tours in small planes...but for big prices. Luckily also, I have an awesome and resourceful husband! On one of our town days in Tok he suddenly turned right into the airport and stopped in front of the office of 40 Mile Air. "What would you think about a plane ride for your birthday?' he asked.
Vanessa in the office explained the various tour options. I listened with one ear and watched the little tiny planes taxi down the narrow runway. Little tiny planes are definitely cuter than big ones, but boy were they getting tossed around in the light breeze. Turning my attention back to the flight options I heard Vanessa mention that there are also 3 seats avalaible on the Tuesday two-hour mail flight to Chisana. "If the weather is good" she added, "Brownie usually flies back over the glacier and through the canyon."
|Flying over the Tanana River Basin|
And so it was on the morning of Tuesday, August 23 that Brownie, Dave and I lifted off in one of those tiny planes with 80 pounds of mail for Chishana. Chishana, once and very briefly a gold mining boom town of 10,000, has a current year-round population of 6 to 8. Not sure why the U. S. Postal System keeps delivering mail there, especially at what must be significant expense. That's just one of those things you wonder about in Alaska. Irregardless, it is the best flightseeing deal in the state.
|Air Strip in Chisana|
During the 15 minute layover, while the plane was loaded and unloaded, Dave and I wandered over to the public cabin and outhouse. We'd heard about the use of blue foam insulation for toilet seats, but this was the first we saw. Apparently this is the thing to keep your tushie from freezing to the seat during the winter! Then it was time to leave.
The weather was good (enough) and Brownie did fly over the glacier and through the canyon and wow, was that spectacular. More Dall sheep, more mountsides aflame with Aspen, more snow covered peaks, more Alaska!
It was also bumpier. The sky was clouding over and the canyon winds were starting to lightly toss the little plane and my stomach. Gliding over the reddening bear-berry covered hills we landed back in Tok just before the storm. This week's mail run to Chisana was done.