Where have you been? What have you seen?
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By Katamarino
#1628965
From Yakutat, all I had to do was reach Anchorage by the end of the day. My flight from Anchorage back to Iraq (via Denver, New York, Amsterdam, and Dubai) would leave in the early hours of the following morning. Luckily, the weather was perfect!

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Crossing Yakutat Bay:
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The Malaspina Glacier. The current extent is much shorter than shown on the sectional:
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Glacial terrain below the Malaspina:
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Coastal terrain on the way to Cordova:
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The Bering Glacier:
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Glacial terrain below Bering. I believe the holes come from thawing of frozen tundra.
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Terrain approaching Cordova Municipal:
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Approaching Cordova Municipal for landing:
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Cordova Municipal is a gravel strip alongside the road, right near the town center. To get to parking you taxi across the road. Floatplanes use the lake alongside.

Parked up at Cordova:
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Next post; the final leg of part 1!
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By Dave W
#1629004
Every day, another "Wow! :shock: "

Mick, d'you mean this one? If so, yes it does! (It's the 8th for me, if you count the chart).

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Thanks, Katamarino - I can't remember when I've enjoyed a Trip thread more, and there's been some stiff competition. :D
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By Katamarino
#1629063
The final flight of phase 1!

The city strip in Cordova was quite busy and as is often the way at little airports I was soon chatting to some of the locals. One man was loading up his taildragger to fly out for a few days gold prospecting, and his wife offered to drive me around and show me some of the town.

Getting ready to search for gold:
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Cordova main street:
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Salmon river. My host was a particular fan of taking photos of flowers and seagulls:
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Saying goodbye before heading out to Lake Hood:
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Cordova:
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Crossing Prince William Sound:
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Crossing the mountains by Portage Glacier:
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On the Gravel Pit arrival to Lake Hood:
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Convenient parking for the departures terminal!
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A major sort-out of the aircraft before my commercial flight:
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All wrapped up for the next few weeks while I went back to work in Iraq:
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Last night I landed back in Anchorage, and today I set out to begin phase 2! Updates will become a little more sporadic, as and when I have access to internet. The far north awaits...
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By Rob L
#1629095
Fantastic, Katamarino. If that's you with the sunglasses in the latest post, you look too young to be able to afford such a trip (but perhaps you're in the oil industry in Iraq).

Great reporting nonetheless. When will you be back to continue?

Rob
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By Rob L
#1629137
QDMQDMQDM wrote:Surprising number of cars for a town off the road system. Fantastic trip, Katamarino. Following closely. Get that bear fence!

QDM, we should meet up in Colorado some time. (Not this year; I'm flying from Chicago to New England next month in my Taylorcraft), so perhaps in spring 2019?
Rob
(sorry for the thread drift, Katamarino)
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By Katamarino
#1629142
Rob L wrote:Fantastic, Katamarino. If that's you with the sunglasses in the latest post, you look too young to be able to afford such a trip (but perhaps you're in the oil industry in Iraq).

Great reporting nonetheless. When will you be back to continue?

Rob


Yes, that's me. Nice of you to say I'm looking young! Yes, I'm fortunate enough to have a role in natural gas in Iraq. We work four weeks on, four weeks off, so I'm very lucky to have both the time and money to really enjoy the flying, at least for a few years!

I'm posting this message from the front seat of the 182, sitting on the ground at Anchorage. The adventure is restarting right now!
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By Katamarino
#1629143
QDMQDMQDM wrote:Surprising number of cars for a town off the road system. Fantastic trip, Katamarino. Following closely. Get that bear fence!


Cordova is on the road system, it's Dry Bay that wasn't!
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By Katamarino
#1635298
A slightly more direct route (Basra - Dubai - Amsterdam - New York - Anchorage) than last time had me back in Anchorage on the Saturday evening. My friend, J, collected me in her rental car and we ran over to check out the airplane.

Airplane checks on Saturday night.
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All was good, the cover had done a wonderful job! We stopped in at the AirBNB apartment she'd arranged, and then headed for a quick dinner in Anchorage before the third member of our party, Q, arrived. J had arrived a day earlier and already knew the way around most of Anchorage, it turns out it isn't terribly big. Dinner at the Glacier Brewhouse, very well reviewed, was poor; it took more than an hour to get a simple burger and piece of salmon, and the quality was not great. If in Anchorage, I’d go elsewhere!

The next day the three of us explored Anchorage a little in the morning. Visits to souvenir shops netted me a large quantity of bear-themed T-shirts. We made an attempt to visit a shop belonging to @Anymouse’s cousin, but it turned out to be closed on Mondays, so we had to make do with a photo outside instead!

More bears? Must be back in Alaska!
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@Anymouse’s cousin’s store. The name sounds like a euphemism for something.
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After lunch we made our way back to the airport and loaded up. With 3 on board, baggage and camping gear, and 110 gallons of fuel, I wasn’t super keen to use the gravel strip, so we took advantage of the linking taxiway with Anchorage International and taxied across, taking off from the long paved runway at the international. Day one was simply a 50nm hop across the water to Kenai; the airplane performed great after a few weeks sitting idle, to my relief.

Taxiing across the apron at the international:
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Heading south to Kenai
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Dealing with Avis at the airport was a drama; they refused to honour the written reservation I had from Avis.com stating that they were only an Avis “affiliate” or some similar rubbish, and offering me a car at more than double the rate. Thieving scumbags, don’t use them if you can avoid it! We finally got hold of a car and set off up along the coast to explore. After a quick pizza, we found a fantastic campsite in the Captain Cook State Recreation Area, set up the tents, and settled in for a peaceful night. Strong winds overnight brought down some large branches, but luckily they avoided all the tents!

The first night’s camp site:
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The view from camp site number one:
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By Katamarino
#1635689
The following morning, mercifully un-crushed by any fallen trees, we explored the beach a little before setting out to see some Kenai sights. The beach was more mud/rock than sand, so we didn’t spend too long there. Exploration completed, we set out south again back towards Kenai.

The beautiful beach by the camp site:
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We stopped for a drink at one of the many tiny roadside coffee kiosks that seemed to be popular up here, and then dropped in to the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge visitor center to get some ideas about the best place to go. They suggested driving along to the far end of the refuge and doubling back along the gravel internal park road; apparently many bears had been seen in the area!

So you’re saying we might see bears? Excellent!
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The walk took us through woodland, so we made sure to be nice and noisy so as not to surprise any bears. The trail took us to overlook the river, which flowed through a beautiful canyon. It looked like a fun place for rafting!

The top of the canyon:
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The river through the canyon:
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Taking a hike in the wildlife refuge:
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A view over the wildlife refuge:
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We returned to the airport, stopping for a fantastic Thai meal, and also at a shop to try and repair my phone which had stopped working in the wildlife refuge. No dice!

My favourite licence plate, outside the restaurant:
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The next leg of our flight took us down the peninsular to Homer.
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On the way to Homer:
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Conditions were great on departure, but by the time we arrived we had to sneak in through rain and ceilings that I will describe only as “low”. Within 30 minutes of landing, everything was back to normal however, and we set out for a walk into town. It was a bit late in the day, so we just walked down past the visitor center to the beach.

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We took a taxi back to the airport and retraced our steps a little to Ninilchick.

The Homer spit, on departure:
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This small gravel strip has a campsite directly across the road; ideally, we could camp under the wings, and pay a few dollars to use the showers next door!

The campsite at Ninilchick:
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By Katamarino
#1636169
After a very relaxing night in Ninilchick we took off, direct to Kodiak. Would this finally be my chance to see some bears?

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Heading south from Ninilchick:
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Passing back by Homer airport:
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Mountains south of Homer:
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Nanwalek airport:
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Crossing the water towards Kodiak:
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We landed at the municipal strip, right in the center of Kodiak. A local pilot, and owner of Vertigo Air, landed just behind us and came to say hello; he organized for us to use a tiedown spot belonging to a friend of his as space was at a premium.

Due to our policy of last minute bookings, given the unpredictable nature of GA travel, there were no rental cars left on the island. We made the only sensible decision and rented a 15 foot box truck. Jay was kind enough to give us a lift to collect it.

Loading the “rental car”. Cargo space was adequate for our needs.
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We set off to explore the island!
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We clearly weren’t the only one with the truck idea. This guy must have snapped up the last of the small ones!
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We drove out to an old WW2 air strip. The plating used to help reinforce the surface was still visible.
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From the airstrip we hiked up to an old WW2 bunker.
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More Kodiak:
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Checking out the Pacific Spaceport:
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Another day, another complete lack of bears. We decided to get serious and called around bear viewing operators. None other than Jay from Vertigo turned out to have open seats the next morning, so we snapped them up! That night, we camped out near town. J set up her tent in the back of the truck.
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