Thursday, I flew to meet a pilot friend for lunch. Sounds routine, doesn’t it? But Uwe Goehl, Canadian Airbus captain who flies the world for a Middle-Eastern airline, lives in faraway Abu Dhabi. We last met six years ago, so when Uwe enrolled in hot-air balloon training just across the state line at Hurricane, Utah, I jumped at the chance to reconnect. As always when bound for unfamiliar airports, I phoned ahead.
“As long as you’re not staying over the weekend,” said Art Granger, manager of Hurricane’s General Dick Stout Field Airport (1L8). “We’re closing the runway for reconstruction Monday morning—you wouldn’t want to get stuck here for three months.”
That got my attention. Sure, I planned only a day trip, but what if delayed by weather or an unexpected mechanical problem? I remembered my friend Julie, whose airplane was stranded at another airport when runway reconstruction started two days early and she couldn’t leave. So I arranged to meet Uwe at nearby St. George Regional Airport (KSGU), instead.
St. George is only 150 miles from Flagstaff, but over a stunningly remote route. Halfway lies none other than the Grand Canyon, followed by the uninhabited “Arizona Strip.” En route, only Grand Canyon National Park Airport reports weather, beyond which there are no airstrips, towns, nor even ranches for 100 miles. So while excited, I obsessively double-checked my survival kit, outerwear, water, and energy bars…
A day-long snowstorm had just passed when I flew Jean to Phoenix to see her mom. Lingering flurries receded to the east, while from the west approached the intense cobalt skies seen only after snow.
By the time I dropped Jean and steered for my next appointment at Prescott, a few new snow showers sprinkled northern Arizona’s mountains. No worry–Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks beckoned clearly from between them for my subsequent flight home.
Ninety minutes later, I preflighted for my final fifty-mile hop. Prescott’s Love Field Airport lies in an open valley, with Flagstaff 2,000 feet higher at the base of Arizona’s tallest mountains. Therefore you can usually see Flagstaff’s “Peaks” directly from Prescott’s airport tiedowns.
Now, however, the snow showers between here and home were denser than before…
Recently I flew out-of-town visitors over the Grand Canyon. As always it was amazing, but I found myself dodging clouds so we returned early.
On our way back, however, sun pierced clouds over flaming autumn aspens lining the Inner Basin of Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks, and… Wow, one of my most amazing aerial sights ever! (Click on photo to see a larger image.)
UPDATE: Happily, interest in this print has been off the charts. However many people have apparently been confused regarding purchase options, for which I apologize. To clarify:
“Inner Basin Flaming Aspens” Fine Art Metal Print sizes and pricing* in ready-to-hang frameless floating wall mounts (pictured at my Fine Art Metal Prints page):
*Prices include standard shipping within Continental US. (Contact me for pricing of custom sizes and framing options.)
Order your “Inner Basin Aspens” Fine Art Metal Prints HERE. **Select “Inner Basin Aspens” from the aerial prints drop-down menu in Step 2. (Steps 2-4 must be completed.)
NEW! 2019 “Views from Kachina Wetlands” Photo Wall Calendars
Nearly every day for years I’ve hiked or biked this beautiful wetlands near Flagstaff, photographing sunsets, weather phenomena, wildflowers, and birds.
(The Audubon Society ranks Kachina Wetlands among Northern Arizona’s top birding sites.)
Finally this year I’ve collected some of my favorite and most unique Kachina Wetlands images into Standard and Premium-sized wall calendars, including many from my “Down to Earth” series of Fine Art Metal Prints.
2019 “Views from Flagstaff” Photo Wall Calendars
These calendars feature some of my favorite photographs shot in and around our beloved Flagstaff, Arizona, including several from my “Down to Earth” series of Fine Art Metal Prints.
Among them are photographs of historic downtown Flagstaff including the landmark Weatherford and Monte Vista hotels, the San Francisco Peaks, Coconino County Fair, seasonal views of summer sunflowers and autumn aspens, and Flagstaff’s famed New Years “Great Pinecone Drop!”
(Previous buyers note that this year’s “Views from Flagstaff” calendars contain the same great photos as last year’s.)
2019 “Views from Japan” Photo Wall Calendars
Once again, I’m also offering my terrestrial, “Views from Japan” photographic wall calendars.
Although a departure from my aerial persona, Jean and I have been so taken with Japan’s beauty and character during our travels that I can’t resist sharing special images from there.
This is one country you must make plans to visit! And once seeing the included photographs, I suspect you’ll agree.
Included are amazing views of Kyoto’s and Nara’s exquisite temples, Matsumoto Castle, Osaka’s Dotombori Entertainment District, a Shinto wedding at Miyajima Island, Tokyo’s Ginza District, and Ogimachi Historic Town.
(Previous buyers note that this year’s “Views from Japan” calendars contain the same great photos as in prior years.)
2019 “Views from Korea” Photo Wall Calendars
Check out my “Views from Korea” photographic wall calendars!
Included are amazing photographs taken in the Republic of [South] Korea, little-known among Americans, with its fascinating blend of old and new.
See Seoul’s renowned Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gunsan’s Barley Festival, traditional Korean horsemen in Jeonju, Gochang-eup Fortress, and more troubling, North Korea viewed from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Joint Security Area.
(Previous buyers note that this year’s “Views from Korea” calendars contain the same great photos as in prior years.)
This summer has been one of the best in memory for wild sunflowers blooming in Northern Arizona’s meadows and mountains.
Every time I go out, my camera insists on capturing more perspectives, and each time I post one I’m encouraged by audience response to take more. So thanks, everyone, for enabling my camera’s sunflower addiction!
Here’s my latest “Down to Earth” terrestrial Fine Art Metal Print,“Mountain Sunflowers,” photographed at Kachina Wetlands south of Flagstaff, Arizona.
This summer has been one of the best in memory for wild sunflowers blooming in the meadows and mountains of Northern Arizona. Just the other day I captured this image of the San Francisco Peaks framed by sunflowers at Kachina Wetlands.
“Sphinx Moth with Thistles,” (right) for their silent auction, and yes, more “Sunflowers!” (left) for their live auction. Coincidentally both of these were shot in previous years at Kachina Wetlands. Best of success to ANCA at their fundraiser!
And here’s my latest “Down to Earth” terrestrial Fine Art Metal Print, “Sunset Lenticulars,” photographed at Kachina Wetlands south of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Lens-shaped “lenticular clouds” commonly form downwind of mountains—in this case, Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks—during periods of strong winds aloft. See all my latest “Down to Earth” terrestrial Fine Art Metal Prints.
Restricted airspace is something we pilots study and then studiously avoid.
Fortunately, it’s limited enough in most places to easily bypass. But here in the Intermountain West, huge swaths of the stuff can dictate 100-mile detours.
Jean and I regularly experience this flying from Flagstaff to Alamogordo, New Mexico to visit family. To bypass 135 miles of restricted airspace encompassing White Sands Missile Range, we must steer east past Socorro and then 90 miles south, or southeast to El Paso and turn north.
Normally we take the shorter northern route. But when weather recently shrouded northern New Mexico, we launched via El Paso.
En route, we reflected on restricted-airspace lessons we’ve learned…