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Approaching Denali – Part II

DenaliFoothills

Once we had settled into the flight and gotten over the surprise of how fast we had taken to the skies, we began to come to terms with our surroundings. As our otter lumbered along, the vastness of the Alaskan forest expanded before us. Had I not been sitting in the co-pilot seat, I would have thought the forest was never ending. However, I could see ahead, and it was clear the forest ended at the base of mountains we were flying towards. The approach was slow. I watched as rivers cut wide swaths trough the trees below. I was able to take my time and scan the banks for grizzlies. I was alarmed by the sound of rain spattering against the windshield. It was a subtle reminder of how exposed our tiny aircraft was to the whims of nature. As we passed what our pilot called the foothills of Denali, I looked on in awe. Any other place in the world, this image is of a mountain, a final destination. Today, it was simply a foothill. A small stepping stone along our journey to a something three times its size. In front of us, hidden behind a low ceiling of thick gray clouds, was a mountain standing over 20,000 feet tall. We couldn’t see it. We didn’t know if we would see it. Our pilot reassured us that Denali was directly ahead……

Continue for Capture/Processing Notes…