Flight Out Group trip to Yellowstone, Glacier Park and Portland
One of the CFIs at our flight club, Dan Dyer, organizes occasional flights and small trips and this time it was at trip to Yellowstone and Glacier Park (with a stop around Portland on the way back to cut the trip up a little bit). It's a nice little treck, about 2000 miles/3300 km total, see the map at runwayfinder.
Here's the complete track of our trip, including the park visits and scenic flights:
Flight to West Yellowstone
Initially I had planned to do the flight by myself with Jennifer, but when prompted taking an experienced CFI along would be a good oportunity to fly lower in Canyons and learn a few things that I just wouldn't have done by myself where I just keep a bigger safety envelope due to limited experience closer to the peaks. This made it a good learning trip in addition to it being a great sightseeing trip.
We left a little bit later than the rest of the group so that I could have a chance to get enough sleep not to be useless as a pilot, although that still meant a before 06:00 wakeup, but we made up for the time with a non stop flight thanks to the 182's good payload capacity and full fuel takeoff with our limited weighs.
Trip Planning before departure
Jason Miller, keeping me out of trouble and teaching me new things
Runways there are simple, you just spray paint white corners on the ground :)
ILS approach to yellowstone with Voyager
KWYS, West Yellowstone
The flight to Yellowstone was nice and uneventful, even if it was a bit long. However, the weather wasn't ideal when we arrived, so we couldn't go overfly Yellowstone due to clouds and fairly high windws.
As soon as we landed in Yellowstone, we got our rental car and went to the park to get a chance to see as much of it as possible before the day would be over. Jennifer had done a lot of research on the park and knew what to see in the time we had.
Yellowstone Day 2: Mountain Flying and tour of the Park
Most of us went mountain flying the next morning. While had already gotten 2 mountain checkouts, I figured getting some more practise couldn't hurt. We flew in some canyons, did some practise short radius turns, got pushed around by the wind and turbulence a fair amount before we headed for a Yellowstone overflight.
Jason and Scott in their trusty 172SP
Ok, that wasn't part of our group :)
Grand Prismatic Spring
The old faithful settlement
Mammoth Hot Springs
After a nice overflight of yellowstone, we went back to the ground and drove to the park to tour it the other way. Unfortunately, they had a stupid roadblock that only opened for 5mn every hour. We got there a couple minutes late and had to wait 30mn. Then, I made the critical mistake of letting the cars go so that we wouldn't get stuck in a long line of cars, but this turned out to be a mistake as they closed the road as soon as the continuous flow of cars stopped, just in front of us, and we got stuck another 30mn.
Practise low radius Canyon turns
Oh well, we eventually got through and were able to do the loop the other way while stopping at all the relevant locations. We even ended up having just enough time to finish the loop the other way and get back to our hotel.
The 'Yellowstone Grand Canyon'
A lot of bisons in the park
but they sometimes drive on the wrong side of the road :)
bridge to south entrance
Day 3: Glacier National Park
The next morning, we tried to take off early to beat some brewing bad weather, lowering ceilings and incoming thunderstorms, and we did manage to get off on time towards better weather in Glacier National Park, which we reached by 11:00, in time for doing a nice visit of the park.
a little brewing bad weather
but we thankfully got out of it before it got bad
After a nice picnic by Lake McDonald, we went up to Logan Pass. By sheer luck, the Going to the Sun road had just opened a day earlier, and gave us a chance to reach the peak, along with some other people who had brought their skis and snowboards to ride the little bit of snow left at the top :)
Glacier Park's Lake McDonald
the long road up that had just opened
those two were cute
People got excited to ski/board a few feet of glacier :)
It wasn't that much, really :)
We had enough time to reach the other side of the mountain range, and do some hiking by Mary's lake to Mary's and Virginia Falls, and then did the long drive back to our hotel.
Virginia Falls by Mary's Lake
Day 4: Glacier Park Overfly and Spruce Goose at the Air and Space Museum in Mc Minnville by Portland
The next morning we did an overfly of Glacier Park and headed for south of Portland to see Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose at the Air and Space Museum.
Flying Glacier Park at peak's height was impressive, even in nice weather and low winds.
KGPI / Glacier Park
Nice Little Runway
that's lower than I would fly :)
We then went south to fly Clearwater Canyon for a while, and took a more direct route to Portland.
Clearwater River Canyon
Those are not the missile silos you are looking for :)
The Minnville Air and Space Museum was actually better than what we were hoping for. Quite a collection of planes, and of course the one and only monster wooden plane.
the Spruce Goose
Damn, those aren't flaps, those are barn doors :)
With this you can become #1 on final if you were #5 :)
The Spruce Goose's rudder is bigger than most planes' wings
We then still had enough time to fly back to Palo Alto, as we didn't have much to do in Portland that we could think of, and were happy with the prospect of a nice night at home. Mt Sashta was on the way, so we flew right by it on the way down.
its ski slopes are in the wrong place though :(
While it was a bit short and packed compared to what there was to see and do, it was a great trip. Too bad we didn't have more time to hang out and socialize as a result.
home, sweet home :)
Thanks to the people who helped organize it.
You can see pictures about:
Palo Alto to Yellowstone
Yellowstone Day 1
Overflight of Yellowstone
Yellowstone Day 2
Flight from Yellowstone to Glacier Park
Visit of Glacier Park
Overflight of Glacier Park
Flight from Glacier Park to Evergreen Museum
Visit of Evergreen Air and Space Museum/Spruce Goose
Flight back to Palo Alto