Friday, December 31, 2004

 

Grocery Shopping, Trapper Style!

"BR-R-R-I-I-I-NG-NG-G"!!! The phone startled me and ended my wandering through the dreamworld of scantily clad women and free beer. I snapped back to reality and realized I was in the Flight Shack. I dropped my feet off the desk and grabbed the phone. "Hello, Little Grand Air", I said. "Hello Steve, it's Patrick. I want to go grocery shopping to my trapline this afternoon. Can you fly me this afternoon?" came the voice from the other end of the line. "Sure", I said, "but what do you mean by grocery shopping?" "You'll see", Patrick said. "See you after lunch, and I'll need the Beaver."

I hung up the phone and sat there with a stupid look on my face. Grocery shopping, I wonder what he means by that? I figured I would find out after lunch, so I went and fuelled and warmed up the Beaver, and waited for Patrick to arrive.

It was the late 1980's, early January. I had known Patrick Owen for a number of years, and really liked the guy. He was very quiet, very straight-forward, and definitely the man to have with you if you were stuck out in the bush. He had grown up trapping and hunting and was acutely in tune with the bush. The kind of man that goes moose hunting in the fall with a Winchester Model 94 30-30 in a canvas sheath, and takes along a backpack of gear, and that is all he needs. The kind of man that can imitate moose sounds, and uses a piece of birch bark to amplify his call when calling in a moose. The kind of man that builds his own cabin in the bush when his father or grandfather's trapper cabin has decayed. Yes, Patrick had a lot of experience and knowledge.

Patrick showed up with a buddy after lunch, and we headed for Horseshoe Lake, located on the Berens River, about 25 miles west of Little Grand Rapids, Manitoba, where our Air-Base was located. We got to the lake and circled. Patrick had built a new cabin the past fall, and I picked it out from the air. There is a lot of current coming into the lake, and it goes right past Patrick's cabin. I would have to make a tight landing in the small bay to the east and hug the shoreline. "Routine, for a great pilot like myself", I thought. What an arrogant cuss.

I made the landing, and shut down the airplane. I was a little concerned about the ice thickness due to the current, but I figured it was OK where I landed. I exited the airplane, stepped on the ski, then the ice, and one leg went straight through the ice up to my nuts. HOLY SHIT!!!! Panic goes through your mind in times like these. The airplane sinks, and we all die, or something along those lines. Anyhow, I grabbed ahold of my thoughts, and lifted myself back onto the ice. It was only a hole covered in snow. This is a phenomenon that can happen due to current, swirling water, an underwater spring close to shore, or it could've been an old waterhole Patrick cut through the ice previously when he was at his cabin. Whatever it was, Patrick and his buddy headed for his cabin smiling, while I stayed to measure the actual ice thickness around the airplane. I used an axe, and the thickness was 8" of good blue ice, adequate for the Beaver.

From the lake, I had observed Patrick go to his cabin and pull off the window-coverings, then the windows, and disappear inside. He returned to the window a few minutes later, and threw out a moose quarter! Now I got it! This continued until the number of quarters on the ground X 4 = multiple moose. Patrick had been hunting at his cabin at freeze-up, had done extremely well, and had stored some of the meat in the cabin. What a way to grocery shop!!!

We loaded and flew back to base, then unloaded the moose meat into Patrick's snowmobile trailer. He paid me and thanked me for the flight, then departed. He said he was going to share the meat with a few different families. This was what the Native people did in earlier times, and nothing was ever wasted, as even the tongue, nose, liver, heart, and fatty deposits behind the eyes of a moose was consumed.

I watched Patrick disappear around the point, and was glad there were people like Patrick still around. The Native people in Canada are losing a lot of their acquired knowledge of "living off the land", and to me this is a shame. Time marches on, though, I guess, but all is not lost, because with people like Patrick around, the knowledge marches on!


Old C-GJJG was a "59 Beaver, but Patrick liked to use it as a "shopping cart"... Posted by Hello


Horseshoe Lake Grocery Store, with Patrick entering the "meat" section..... Posted by Hello


Always choose a number of choice cuts when shopping..... Posted by Hello


Patrick was (and still is) one "helluva" hunter..... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

 

Gerry Gets His Boat!!

I was looking at some photos from earlier in my career, and chuckled over the many "external" loads I have flown. I have also been asked hundreds, if not thousands of times, how all the materials and equipment get into a lake in the bush inaccessible by road. The most-asked question is always; "How did you get the boats in here?" The following story may shed a little light on the situation.

Spring. A beautiful time of year for a bush pilot. Give me a float-plane and give me somewhere to go. As beautiful as the fall is with the change of colours, the decrease in temperature, and the shorter days, the spring is equally marvelous with the increase in sunshine, the greenness signaling rejuvenation, the birds, and the melting of the ice.

It was May, 2004. I was flogging an Otter on floats for Blue Water Aviation Services Ltd.. It was nice to be back on floats. It is most enjoyable seeing familiar lakes once again after the ice leaves them. It is also nice to follow the rivers and see how powerful the rapids and falls run in the spring with all the runoff added to the river.

During this time of year, we supply a number of fly-in lodges with the initial staff and equipment needed to open up the camp for business. One of these lodges that we service is Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, and we do the support flying from our Sub-base in Bissett. Gerry and Phil are the co-owners of Aikens Lake Wilderness Lodge, and each spring they commit a lot of time and energy to ensuring the opening of their camp is a smooth affair. Every year they show up in Bissett with a "slightly" over-loaded truck and we run two Otters back and forth between their lodge and our Sub-base until all their staff and freight is safely deposited at Aikens Lake. Every year they always bring one item that does not fit inside the airplanes.( I think Phil does this just to annoy me as he always has a good laugh when he shows us what he has brought.) This year it was a large boat, but it would have to be flown in later due to daylight restrictions.

A couple of days later, I was coming back from "up north", and my track would take me directly over Bissett.
I looked out the side window and noticed on the lakes there wasn't much wind. The temperature was also cool, and much more agreeable with flying "external" loads. I didn't have any more trips that day, and there were two crewmen in Bissett to help with the "external".
I reduced power, and down C-GBTU went. I approached Bissett from the northwest and "skimmed" the landing so well, you wouldn't have spilled your beer. I taxied in and shut the old horse down as I coasted towards the dock. I got out and tied her up.

Johnnie, "Codfish", and I rolled the boat over on the shore to have a better look at it. Holy shit, this boat is a lot larger than I thought it was. It was an 18' Lund, with live wells, wooden flooring, and pedestal seating all installed. Good grief, this bugger is going to be heavy. Lund boats are heavy boats, but they are quality-made. They are extremely stable on the water, and always survive the plane ride to the lake damage-free. Johnnie, "Codfish"(his name is Wendell, he is from the east coast), and I took the seats out of the boat and carried it over to the Otter. After we finished checking each other for hernias, we strapped the boat on the side of the Otter. A boat is always flown stern-first (physics I won't get into here) and is held on with "Herc" straps, straps so named as they are used in Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft to secure palleted loads to the floor. We double-checked the straps for security, and taxied out. I had a partial load inside the airplane, and I took along "Codfish" as a "swamper".

The old Pezetel engine started to throb as the supercharger spooled up. One thousand screamin' horses whinnied in unison as C-GBTU lifted off the lake at Bissett and climbed towards Aikens Lake. We landed in the east arm of the lake, as this is where the docks are located. Gerry met us, and he was quite happy to receive his boat. We unloaded and bid him adieu, took off and headed back to Bissett. We never damaged the boat or the aircraft floats, and still had all our fingertips and finger-nails. Just another day flying in the bush.

So, the next time you are at a camp in the bush and see some large, hulking, unsymmetric piece of equipment or machinery sitting there, and you wonder "how the hell did they get THAT in here?", chances are it came by air!


After a verbal berating from Johnnie and "Codfish", I relented, and secured the boat with "Herc" straps instead of duct tape..... Posted by Hello


In light of the fact that my friends would not let me pretend to be Captain, I pouted, took my boat, and went home.... Posted by Hello

 

Asian Tragedy

Hello everybody, and hope all had a decent Christmas! I have been saddened by the events in southeast Asia, as all probably have been. So many children lost. The parent's grief must be unimagineable. Everyone please do what you can to help, and hug your kids.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

 

I Salute The Vets!!!



May God Bless all the Veterans! People in North America don't realize how lucky we are and what you have done for us! God Bless!! Thank you for providing liberty and quality of life!

Steve

 

Christmas Greetings

this is an audio post - click to play

Thursday, December 23, 2004

 

Pauingassi Snares "Two More" Victims

It was the mid-'90s, some time in January. I was flying for Northway Aviation, an outfit with a hangar and facilities at Drunken Point, on the west shore of Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba.

January and February are the two quietest months in the year as far as flying goes, as it is very cold and limits people's activities, and the Manitoba winter road system is open, or soon will be. This allows for people to travel to and from Winnipeg and destinations south. The winter road system allows heavy transport trucks to supply the all-weather road inaccessible Indian Reserves, this being much cheaper than flying their goods in by air.

Pauingassi is one of the Indian Reserves in Manitoba that is very dependent on air transport. It also does not have a runway. During the freeze-up months in early winter, and break-up months in early spring, Pauingassi can only be accessed by helicopter, from a base at Little Grand Rapids, 9 miles away. Little Grand Rapids has a runway, and passengers and goods are transferred to the helicopters to reach Pauingassi. Therefore, as soon as a primitive ice runway can be constructed, it is, as this can always be accomplished before the winter road system can provide access for the community.

During this volume from the library of my life, I was the Operations Manager for the company I worked for, and had been for a number of years. As in all businesses, we had competitors. At a slow time of year business-wise, your revenue and cash-flow are reduced, therefore, some companies were willing to take more risks than others to grab what revenue is available. This was not the case in our company, as the owner of the company and I were very experienced pilots with thousands of hours flying time. We were also a little unique in the area that we both had lots of float, ski, and tail-dragger time, and had done a lot of off-airport flying. This gave us a good all-around awareness of what elements to consider when assessing risk before commencing an operation.

The ice-runway in Pauingassi was finally ready and I took our Cessna 185 to check it out. I was not impressed. The "runway", so to speak, had been hastily constructed. It ran "north to south", was only a couple of thousand feet long, and was very narrow. It would be useable, but only with our high-winged, fixed-gear aircraft. The wind would also have to be looked at as a major factor before each flight.

We used the runway, but always erred on the side of caution if conditions were marginal. Then one morning, my headset crackled; "Crazy-Wind 000 is off the ice-strip at Pauingassi, climbing to 6500' southbound". I couldn't believe it. Our competitors were using a Piper Navajo Chieftain on the ice-strip. Now, I personally have flown twin-engine, retractable-gear airplanes such as the Chieftain off of ice-strips, but not one this slippery and narrow, with high snow banks on each side. Recipe for disaster, I figured.

Both companies continued to use the ice-strip in Pauingassi, and our competitor started to obtain most of the revenue available, as we were using slower airplanes to provide a service, but much safer airplanes as per the takeoff/landing area conditions. People like to get where they are going as fast as possible, no matter what the mode of transportation. It is human nature. People from communities serviced by air also seem to have a blind faith in pilots. Anyways, both companies continued, with a few close calls by our competitor being observed. I, for one, knew it was only a matter of time.

"There has been an accident in Pauingassi, on the ice-strip!" we heard over the radio. I quickly established that it wasn't one of our aircraft, and waited for more information. We finally found out it was our competitor and on landing he had hit a truck. There was an access road to the ice-strip from the community, and a truck had just started to access the ice-strip when the competitor's Chieftain landed. Due to the length and breadth of the strip, the pilot couldn't stop, and smoked the truck. When the snow finally cleared, it was determined that no-one was hurt, although the airplane wing hit the cab of the truck, and the propeller just missed it.

The outcome of the incident was positive in respect to injuries or death, but it could have been much worse. There are limits and standards to be adhered to, and compromising standards for revenue or ego will always leave you with egg (or blood) on your face, no matter what business you may be in.

The RCMP finished their investigation, and the aircraft was salvaged. We all had a chance to see the mating of the truck and airplane and personally ponder with our private thoughts. Our competitors stopped landing retractable-twin airplanes on the ice-strip, and our passenger travel increased somewhat. The ice-strip was finally lengthened and widened, allowing more diverse types of aircraft to use it. When all was said and done, I was glad the incident didn't happen to our company. Don't get me wrong, I'm not glad it happened to them, either. It was just nice to know that because decisions we make in life can be far-reaching and have an effect on other people, we felt we had made the right decisions.


The city-boy pilot displayed a classic case of "Ice-Road Rage" as he tried to get the last available parking spot.... Posted by Hello


The wrestling match was considered a draw, as "Jumpin' GM" had "Ratty Piper" by the wing, but "Ratty" had "Jumpin" by the box.... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

 

Put "Christ" Back in Christmas

Am I the only one who understands the foolishness and absurdity of being so-called "politically correct" (man, I hate that term, it is for zombies to repeat), when it comes to Christmas? It is Christmas, by the way. There is a reason for the holiday dating back 2000 years. In our misguided attempts not to offend anyone who has a different belief or view, we are trampling our own rights.

The seed for this trend was planted over 20 years ago by the American Civil Liberties Union in the United States, and has slowly crossed the border into Canada. In the U.S., years of lawsuits and threats of lawsuits have made governments and public leaders wary of making any reference to "Christ" at Christmas-time (or should I say "Happy Holiday-time"? Absolutely absurd!!) so as not to offend any other belief and face litigation. The ACLU argued Nativity scenes and such violated the First Amendment ban on government-endorsed religion, and should not be erected or celebrated on public property (Who are these people?).

Therefore, it is time to call a spade a spade, and celebrate "Christmas". The U.S. and Canadian way of life were founded based on Christian principles, and are reflected in our governmental system, in the way of freedom, respect, and tolerance for people of all nations and beliefs. If someone on the street said to me "Happy Hanukkah", I would reply in kind out of respect for their belief. I certainly wouldn't be offended. Tolerance, remember, tolerance.

In closing, I think that these "invertebrates" in public office should take a stand and call the holiday what it is. Christmas. Oh, and by the way, that is a Christmas tree in your house, not a "Generic Holiday Tree".


After a long and difficult search, the case of the missing spiked Egg Nog was finally solved.... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

 

A "Moose" has GREAT HEARING!!!!!!

The year was 1988, some time around the end of January, or the beginning of February. I was flying C-GJJG for Little Grand Rapids Air Service. C-GJJG was a 1959 de Havilland "Beaver", and her gear was rigged on de Havilland Beaver skis. They are very robust skis, with leaf-spring suspension, good flotation, and excellent all-around handling characteristics. JJG was used to haul freight, trappers, moose meat, ski-doos, and anything you could get through the doors into her. She also hauled many families, and during the memory related here today, that is what she was doing.

The phone rang in the Flight-Shack, and it was a fellow from Poplar Hill, Ontario. Poplar Hill is an Indian Reserve on the Berens River system, just upstream from the east end of Stout Lake. Telephones were not in abundance in Poplar Hill, as for some reason the locals had an aversion to paying their phone bills. Go figure. Anyway, this gentleman said he was calling for Helen Moose, and she and her family needed a ride back to Pauingassi. I told him I could be there in just over an hour.

I warmed up old JJG and fired off to Poplar Hill. It was only 50 miles, but it was already afternoon and there was a heavy snowfall warning out, but the snow wasn't supposed to reach this far north (oh yeah, and the cheque is in the mail, too). I cranked on through the sky past Moar Lake, Sharpstone Lake, and Stout Lake. I marveled at the ice formations around the rapids on the Berens River, as the water doesn't freeze when it is moving that swiftly, and water currents are always on the mind of a ski pilot as he is attempting to land on lakes that are fed by flowing water. I made it to Poplar Hill and loaded up Helen Moose and her family, and took off for Pauingassi.

Helen Moose was from Pauingassi, the daughter of Joseph Crowe. Joseph was a great trapper, and was the head guide at Fishing Lake Lodge well into his 60s. He was a slight man who always wore a feather in his cap, and wore sunglasses all the time, even at dusk on an overcast, rainy day. His children grew up in the bush, and people who live this way get very acute senses.

Helen had married a fellow from Poplar Hill, and had a number of children. Poplar Hill and Pauingassi had close ties, as they were connected by water. In past times the Native people were nomadic hunter-gatherers, and would travel great distances to acquire sustenance. Many places on the river had a great wealth of natural resources and were key meeting places for people, or were intersections of trade and travel routes. These places became today's communities.

My gaze left my instruments, and I looked outside. DAMN snow! We had been in it for awhile now and it was THICK. I was worried that when we hit the burned-out area north of Sharpstone Lake, we may not be able to continue. It was already a white-out, and without trees for visual reference, it would be risky to continue. We flew on and the snow got heavier. I headed a little south, thinking if I hit Sharpstone Lake dead-on, I could follow the Berens River all the way to Fishing Lake, where Pauingassi is situated.

The snowflakes were now the size of "Loonies", I hadn't found Sharpstone Lake, I was losing vertical visual reference, and had 1/8 to 1/4 mile horizontal visibility. Time to land. We found a long narrow lake to land on, and set her down. There was one narrow strip of trees on the south side of the lake the fire hadn't touched, so we could build a fire and make shelter if need be. We covered the engine, and waited in the airplane hoping the snow would let up.

It didn't. Great, here I am stuck on an unknown lake, with a planeload of kids, in the winter. I-yi-yi. We decided to get out and cut wood for a fire. It was getting close to dark. The snow was deep and Helen's husband and I headed for the thin stand of trees to cut wood while we could see. Helen had been sitting in the airplane, but now stuck her head out the door as we headed off. She paused, and told her kids to be quiet. Then she called us back. "Maa", she said to us. "Maa". (Maa is the Saulteaux word for listen.) I couldn't hear anything. "What is it?" I asked. "Running water", she said. I held my breath and listened again, concentrating hard. Ever so slightly, faintly through the snow, I thought I heard it, too. "Meegeesi Rapids", she said. "It must be Meegeesi Rapids." What a stroke of luck. Meegeesi Rapids is where Moar Lake drains toward Fishing Lake.

We decided to attempt to take off and fly in the direction of the sound, and if it was Meegeesi Rapids, I knew exactly where we were and would follow the river home.

We took off and stayed low, and within a couple of minutes...Meegeesi Rapids!!! Unbelievable. Boy, was I feeling happier. We followed the river and made it to Pauingassi. Just as I unloaded, the snow started to let up. I bid my passengers adieu, and flew the last 9 miles to Little Grand Rapids. I landed, covered up the airplane, and walked up the hill to the Air-Base just as darkness covered the landscape.

As I sat by the fire later that evening, sipping on a pickle jar full of "liquid intellect", water, and ice, I thought about the events of that afternoon. If not for the acute senses of a "Moose", I might still be sitting out on a lake shivering. I, for one, was glad to be inside.


C-GJJG was a great Beaver, and could haul a great load. She hauled many moose out of the bush, but there was one "Moose" she preferred over all......... Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 19, 2004

 

UKN Saves The Reefy Lake Boy's Bacon!!!

The day was hot and muggy. I had done a few trips earlier, and it was getting hotter and hotter. I was flying CF-UKN, a 1966 deHavilland Otter, serial# 456. They only made 10 more after this one.

It was just after noon and there was one more load of freight to go to Pauingassi. I was flying off Lake Winnipeg, just south of Pine Dock, Manitoba. I was going to leave the freight until the next morning because of the heat, but the freight handler told me it was all fresh meats and vegetables. "Son of a butt, all perishable goods," I said.

We decided to quickly load and go, as the temperature was over 30*C already. We loaded and I took a long run across the lake, and the Baron STOL kit pulled me into the air. I staggered up to 2000'ASL and proceeded northeast. Once in cruise the cylinder head temperature stabilized at about 400*F, which was acceptable. The prolonged takeoffs and climbs are really hard on these air-cooled radial engines, especially the Pratt and Whitney "Wasp" 1340 engine. I continued to wallow through the air and crossed the Bloodvein River, then crossed Long Body Creek and Long Body Swamp. Man, flying sucks when it is this hot. There is such a reduced density to the air that aircraft lift, engine combustion, and engine cooling are impaired.

I continued on at 2000'ASL, crossed the Pigeon River, then flew past Button, O'Kelly, Grandmother, and Fishing Lakes, and landed at Pauingassi. I landed a distance from the dock so my cylinders and oil would have more time to cool off as I taxied in. I shut down, coasted to the dock, got out, and tied her up. Then I again cursed the heat.

As I unloaded, I opened all the doors on the Otter, as when it is 35*C outside the airplane, it is over 40*C inside the airplane. I finished unloading, then taxied out, took off, and climbed to 6500'ASL. I could get higher now that I was empty.

It was about 20*C at 6500' and much smoother. I clipped along figuring it was too damn hot, so we would shut down any more non-emergency Otter flights once I returned to base. I was about halfway back when my "Bush Pilot (Spidey) Sense" started to tingle. I had been thinking about 12 cold "Kokanees" when old UKN hit some turbulence and dipped her left wing. This caused me to look out and I noticed we were by Reefy and O'Kelly Lakes. I knew the guys with the private cabin at Reefy Lake as I had taken them in fishing a few days previous. I wondered how they were doing fishing.

What the.....? Shit, that looks like smoke. What would they be doing burning in heat like this? One stray spark and the whole Province could soon be on fire. I know the guys at the camp and they are quite intelligent. No, they wouldn't be burning at this temperature. The smoke didn't seem to be coming from the chimney, either. Geez, I'm at 6500'. Piss on it, something is wrong. Power back, down we go!

On the way down my mind tossed around a few different scenarios of what I would find once I got on the water. I couldn't see any boats out on the lake, or see any signs of life around the cabin. I figured maybe all 6 guys got carbon monoxide poisoning from their propane appliances, and then the cabin caught fire. Down I went until I could see the cabin was OK, the smoke was coming from around their fish-house. Still no sign of life. Well, I will peel the shingles off their cabin with my floats and if they are dead, it won't matter, and if they are alive, they will crap themselves and come running outside.

I buzzed the cabin, banked the airplane around and landed. As I landed I could see...BODIES! Live ones, though, scurrying like ants! OK, I can taxi around a little bit longer to cool my engine and oil. I watched in semi-amusement as the ants... I mean guys, put out the fire using garbage cans, coolers, pails, and anything else that would hold water. They sure were moving quickly. I taxied to the dock and tied up.

Gord came down to see me with a sheepish look on his face. They had been fishing that morning, cleaned fish for lunch, and decided to play cards and stay in the cabin until later because of the heat. Apparently, someone had been smoking and threw his cigarette on the ground by the shed, and the peat covering the rock must've started smouldering until it burst into flames and rapidly spread.

The rest of the guys finally got all the fire out. They continued to soak the ground with water, and said they would keep watching the area for the rest of the day. They all agreed they should have known better. Anyways, they were fine, so I bid them adieu, as I needed a COLD BEER!.

I picked them up a few days later and they headed home. They said another group of their buddies were going to use their cabin on the coming weekend, and I should expect them.

Well, the weekend came, the buddies showed and presented me and old UKN with TWO 24's of Molson Canadian Beer! Hallelujah! They said it was courtesy of the "Reefy Lake Firemen". I laughed. I thanked them, took them to the lake, and returned.

Later that night, I drank some of the booty, reminisced, and watched the sun set through the bottom of an amber bottle.


UKN got me into tight lakes and out of jams. She also alerted the boys at Reefy Lake....... Posted by Hello

Friday, December 17, 2004

 

The Silence Is Deafening At Dogskin Lake

I was flogging through the sky on a beautiful day hauling a load of diesel fuel up to Dogskin Lake Lodge. I was flying a Polack Otter, old C-GBTU, augering along behind the four-bladed prop. BTU was a 1957, with a 4-barrel carb and a supercharger, cranking out 1,000HP on takeoff. It was early May, and I was flying out of the Winnipeg River at Silver Falls, Manitoba, for Blue Water Aviation.

I clipped along north, past the gold mine at Bissett, then crossed the Gammon, Bloodvein, and Sasaginnigak Rivers. There was still ice on Sasaginnigak Lake on the east side, and I could see that Dogskin Lake still had some ice pans floating around, but I would be able to make it into the bay where the docks were. I had to land in the channel and taxi through some ice that was bridged to the shore, but the old Otter on Edo 7850 Beech 18 floats chewed right through it. The ice on the lake made my mind wander back 20 years...............

"I was flying a 1959 Cessna 180 on Fluidyne 3000 wheel-skis, CF-LDW. It was some time around mid-late December. LDW had an O-470K Continental engine, rated at 230HP on takeoff. It had droop-tips and the Cessna 185 gear legs and tail-wheel assembly. It was a great performer and would lift whatever you could cram into it. It was a great trapper machine.

Anyways, I was flying out of Little Grand Rapids, MB, to drop some gear off for Stan Owen at a trapper cabin at the south end of Dogskin Lake. Then I would proceed to Frances Lake, which adjoins Dogskin Lake, and pick up Stan's brother, Joseph, and return him to Little Grand. Joseph always trapped alone, and he was a master at it. I dropped off Stan's gear, and talked to him and his helpers. His family had had the trapline in the Dogskin area for many years, and tremendously enjoyed being out at the cabin, especially at this particular time of year. I had dropped them off in late October on floats, and was just now resupplying them, as the ice was now just safe enough to land a ski-plane on. I bid them adieu and headed to pick up Joseph. It was a very short flight, and extremely smooth down low, as it was blazing sunshine with zero wind, not a breath, not a ripple.

I landed at Frances Lake and shut down the airplane. I got out of the airplane and walked up to Joseph's cabin. It was nestled nicely in the evergreens, to provide shelter and break the wind. The native people are brilliant at placing cabins in the bush for warmth and shelter. I know of trapper cabins that aren't even visible by air, unless you know exactly where they are and can look straight down on them from low-level. Anyway, Joseph's cabin was typical native built, made of peeled jackpine, with a low roof and low doorway. I peeked in, and he wasn't there, but smoke drifted from the chimney and just lay over the cabin due to the no wind condition. I decided to sit on a stump and wait. I leaned against his cabin and became very relaxed. After a few minutes, I started to have an eerie feeling. I couldn't put my finger on it. Something was not right. This was the very beginning of the acquiring of my "Bush Pilot" sense, which today is much finer tuned. So, I sat there, and my mind raced. What was different? What is going on? My hearing started to give it away as I started to hear the beating of my heart, the blood pumping through my head, and the breathing of my lungs. I held my breath. That was it! It was SILENCE! Absolute silence. No birds, boats, ski-doos, phones, cars, people talking, chain saws, squirrels chattering, nothing. For the first time in my life I had experienced absolute silence. Even in a house with nobody else home, in our civilization, there is always a hum from something. This was pure silence. I sat there and a smile crept to my lips. Another new experience. Hey, this bush flying is great! I sat still for about another 5 minutes enjoying the silence, and then decided to get up and stretch. The rustle of my jacket first broke the silence. As I got up, I noticed Joseph about 150 yards away, waving and coming towards me pulling a sleigh. Ahh.., my timing was perfect.

I greeted Joseph, we had some weak tea with condensed milk, loaded his furs, closed his cabin, and took off for home. Joseph must've thought I was a little cracked as I flew back with a dopey smile on my face, but to me, it was an experience to relish. I had experienced true silence, and it was DEAFENING!......."

I came back to reality and shut down the 1000HP radial and coasted to the dock. The boys unloaded me. I said good-bye, fired up the radial, and took off. I made a little detour over Joseph's cabin, and noticed it was overgrown and falling apart. Joseph had had a stroke a number of years back, and couldn't trap anymore. I felt a tinge of regret, but I guess that is life. I rolled the DG to 200* and headed south. I know all things come and go, but I'll always remember Joseph O. and the little cabin at Frances Lake!


CF-LDW was a '59 C-180 that could haul ass. It could also haul drunks, fish, booze, groceries, gas, furs, or anything you could cram in it........ Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

 

Thunderstix's 14 Year Old Boy Gets His First Big Game. Oct.29, 2004

"Greetings" from the Keystone Province. Today we have a guest tale-teller from the B.C. Coast, in the Prince Rupert area. This is my brother's tale of a father, a son, a rifle, a deer, and a rite of passage. These memories are always bookmarked and strengthen the lifetime bond. Here is his story.

"On Friday afternoon we went to my favourite Black-tail haunt which is two hours by boat (Porcher Island). The rut was definitely not on, as when it is, this place is crazy with deer. We jumped a fat doe in the first 5 mins. of the hunt (about 4:00PM), and then saw nothing for the next 2 hrs. or so. We decided to hunt the ridge tops as the deer were not in the fields. As we were climbing up a well-worn deer trail, a deer started bounding away from us up the trail. I blew my call and it stopped behind a tree...of course. My son jacked in a round and tried to move over to see it. The thing ran another 30 yds. or so and stopped again behind some trees. At this point we both thought it was a doe. I blew the call once more and it stepped out to look at us and I could see (binocs) it was a spiker. It was faced quartering towards us. We were about 30 yds. away and my son asked me if he should shoot it behind the shoulder, to which I replied "No", shoot it square in the chest. He got ready and shot it free hand. The thing leapt into the air and disappeared. We went over and could find zero blood. We searched the direction it went until dark, about 40 mins., but to no avail. We were very disappointed. We figured he must've missed, but the way he jumped I wasn't convinced he had. I soothed his discouraged heart (and my own), and we headed back to the Gillnetter to meet our partners, another father and 14 yr. old son."

"The next morning we set out with a plan to hunt the ridges up to the ridge where we had the encounter. We never saw any deer on the way. We got to the spot where he had shot from and I told him to start looking again while I "went to see a man about a dog", to the bathroom for those who are wondering. I went about 30 ft. down the opposite side of the ridge to have some privacy and what did my eyes behold...his spiker! I called him over immediately and we had a hi-5, a hug, and a prayer of thanks that we had found it. Who would have thought that 2 people could both think the dang deer went the other direction and then find it had died 30 ft. from where it had been shot. He took out the top of the heart and one lung. Ruger M-77 30-06, 58 grains of IMR-4350, 165 grain Hornady Interbond. I took some pics (yes I have film now...Doh!) of him and we used the timer for a father-son shot. My son would not allow me to help him drag it back to the boat, but did the whole 30 mins. himself! I am a proud Dad!

We are going back next weekend for mine and our two partners' deer, as the rut should be in full swing by then. I told my wife before we left that my only goal this trip was to be with my son when he got his first deer.........Mission Accomplished!"

Thanks to my brother for being a guest story-teller. A great tale, thanks!!!!


A successful young hunter... Posted by Hello


A proud Dad, and rightly so..... Posted by Hello


Sailing home successful....... Posted by Hello

Friday, December 10, 2004

 

Pauingassi Snares Two Victims

I was flying for an outfit operating off Drunken Point, just north of Gimli, Manitoba. It was around early January, and we were supplying northern communities with passenger and freight service.

The day in particular, three of our aircraft were servicing the communities of Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi, 9 miles apart on the Fishing-Family Lake chain. One aircraft would go to the gravel runway at Little Grand Rapids, and the other two would use the ice-strip in Pauingassi.

I was the first to depart base, flying a Cessna 207 with oversized gear, full to the nuts with freight. I loved flying freight. A lot of the time, freight is more intelligent than passengers and doesn't puke on you. Anyways, it was afternoon sched and these were our last trips of the day.

I made Pauingassi, unloaded, and headed back south. I talked to the two other pilots, as they were close behind me.

It was a nice afternoon, I was about halfway back and daydreaming, when I heard an aircraft call our base and tell them the C-207 was down in Pauingassi with gear problems. Funny, unless the wheels fell off when I took off, this aircraft is fine. Some more communication ensued, and we found out it was our Britten Norman Islander that had experienced gear trouble on landing in Pauingassi. Nobody was hurt, and the pilot and single passenger were picked up by our other aircraft and transported south.

When the pilot returned, he told us he clipped the snowbank on landing and the gear was damaged. I had a bad feeling in my stomach as Islander gear is very strong and if it was damaged, the airplane must have taken a good whack. We arranged to have a local fellow guard the airplane overnight so the local gas-sniffers ( bad problem ) wouldn't get high off of the AVGAS and then torch the airplane.

The next day, Jim Johnson ( the owner ) and I would take the unopened winter road to Pauingassi and inspect the airplane.

We left early the next morning, crossed Lake Winnipeg, and bounced up the winter road. The road was in poor shape as the freeze-up was being hindered by lots of snow, and there were lots of wet spots. We made it to Little Grand and found they were still flooding the lake crossing with Bombardiers and augers. Warily we crossed the lake in Jim's GMC 4x4. The water was so deep in spots it was up to the running boards. This was a little disconcerting.

We made it to Pauingassi and surveyed the airplane. HOLY SMOKES! This airplane will not be patched and flown out. The damage was substantially more than we had been led to believe. We pulled out the seats, survival gear, head-sets, radios, and anything else that might grow legs in the next day or two. Returning to base after another 4 hour trip south, we had to put Jim's 4x4 in the hangar for two days to melt the ice we had picked up off of it ( January, remember, cold ).

A couple of days later we returned by airplane to move the airplane and prepare it to be salvaged and trucked out when the ice thickness permitted. As we were jury-rigging the gear leg, a pickup truck came fish-tailing by us dangerously close doing about 80 mph, as the ice-strip doubles as the winter road. There was a massive native fellow on the passenger side with his hands over the defrost vents, and he looked wet. A ski-doo pulled up a short time later and told us that the big fellow had just dropped his grader through the ice and had popped back to the surface and had crawled to safety through the ice chunks. One tough son of a b........! The grader went to the bottom in 90' of water.

We finished up our work and moved the airplane. We had jacked it up, bent the gear straight, and cabled it straight. We loaded up and flew home, feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Within a short period, the aircraft was salvaged and returned to our base. The wing was so badly damaged, it never flew again. An Islander wing is a one-piece, stressed, anhedral wing, and it would have been too costly. She was parted out, so the spirit of old C-GSGK still flies on in a number of other airplanes.

Life continued, and I waited for the next adventure. I tell you, this sure beats an office job!!!!!!


Landing on the ice is not overly difficult, but the #1 rule is land BETWEEN the snowbanks... Posted by Hello


Les was not a scholar, philosopher, theologian, or even a lady's man. But dang, could he cable..... Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 09, 2004

 

Canoe The Bloodvein

CLOMP! My feet hit the floor. I struggled to focus on my watch in the dark and hit the illuminate button. Crap, 3:30am already. A few more groans and I was up, as I had a 5:00am trip to take 4 canoers and 2 canoes onto the Bloodvein River, dropping them at Artery Lake, just across the Manitoba border, into Ontario.

I was on the dock by 4:00am to check over the Otter and warm it up. I had tied the 2 canoes onto the airplane the previous night. They were using two 17' Old Town canoes, and for my money, these are the best all-around canoes made. They fly great, they are durable, they are stable, and they haul a great load. I have flown thousands of canoes, and these ones are good. Anyway, I warmed up my old beast, and shut down just as the canoers arrived.

Canoers always intrigue me. They aren't your regular "good ole boy" types. No, they are much more eccentric. They seem to feel they have to be one with the river or have something to prove to themselves or somebody else. Hard to put a finger on, but a noticeably different clientele. Anyways, we loaded up, took off, and headed across Lake Winnipeg for Artery Lake. We would be crossing Lake Winnipeg's east shore roughly a dozen miles south of the Bloodvein River Indian Reserve. We would pick up the Bloodvein River on the way so the canoers/eccentrics in the back could have a look at some of the white water on the lower portions of the river.

We stayed low and enjoyed the river, saw numerous moose and waterfowl, and some other canoers. Flying at 5:00am to me has always been so enjoyable, as the air is cool, the turbulence is minimal, the aircraft performs much better due to the lower temperatures, and the new rookie pilots with verbal diarrhea aren't in the air yet. Anyways, on we flew, past "The Knot", a stretch of river so named as that is what your stomach feels like taking off if the wind is wrong, past "The Big Bend", past Kautunigan, and past the Gammon River-Bloodvein River junction, into the vastness of Atikaki Provincial Wilderness Park.

Atikaki is the Ojibway word for " country of caribou ". There are a number of small stable herds in the park, and can be seen more readily in winter by following their tracks in the snow by air. We flew past Stonehouse and Bushey Lakes, beautiful moose habitat. We crossed the border and I greased the aircraft onto the water .

There are some beautiful red ochre pictographs the canoers wanted to see on the lake so I dropped them off as close as possible. I bid them adieu and 600 horses pulled the Otter into the air in a couple of hundred feet. Man, does this old girl perform well empty. Time to have some fun on the way back.

I stayed low and looked for more moose and wildlife on the way back, all along the Bloodvein. My mind wandered back to a purer time in history and in my mind's eye I imagined the trade and commerce that must've been conducted by the native people when transportation modes and methods were more primitive. I thought about how the river was named. Some will say it was named for the red granite that runs through the bedrock, others will tell you it was named after a battle when the local Ojibway and Cree battled an invading tribe and the river ran red with blood. I flew past a stretch of river where I have dropped people off in the past to fish and they have caught 6 different species of fish! Northern pike, walleye, channel catfish, rock bass, mooneye, and burbot! The river also holds sturgeon in the lower section.

The longing for the past just about had me until the radio brought me back to the 21st century. Some rubberhead on the radio was asking his buddy where he ended up the previous night, and then proceeded to give a position report every half mile. I climbed to 2000 feet and returned totally to reality. I looked at my watch. 6:30am. Yes, the rookies are in the air. Time to be vigilant.

By the way, the Bloodvein is one of 17 rivers nationally designated as an heritage river, it is unspoiled, and well worth an excursion by canoe! Adios


Fishing is always tremendous on the Bloodvein River, with catches such as these... Posted by Hello

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

 

Why I Love Canada

Man, I tell you. The Middle East. The birthplace of civilization ( ? ). From the days of BC to the days of AD. The tremendous minds that lived and died. What could have been built and what should have been. Except for one thing. HATE! Total, unadulterated hatred. Hatred of anyone who thinks different from you, even slightly. Hatred of anything western. I am beginning to think the hatred has been going on for so long, and is so deep, it is genetic. Depressing. Then, my thoughts wander back to North America, Canada, to Vancouver, B.C.. A city so ethnically diverse, a model for the world. Now, I didn't say there aren't problems, as there always will be with congregated masses, but a tolerant city nonetheless. People of all genders, races, ethnic backgrounds, political leanings, religious backgrounds can live together peacefully. And you know the ironic thing? The differences complement each other. Fifteen years ago saw a large increase in immigration. Since then, the different cultures and ethnicities have embraced each other. A place to worship and not be worried about your place of worship, whichever type of building it may be, being car-bombed. Anyways, hats off to North America and our way of life. I am not sure the current situation in the Middle East was the right way to pursue the problem, but freedom isn't free and we should always be vigilant. There are elements out to acquire apocalyptic weapons, that is their goal. Check out the video clips, and tell me there isn't HATRED! Scary stuff! Hopefully, not everyone thinks that way, and I don't think they do. Still, a mess. Hats off to the U.S. and Canada, and I proudly salute all the U.S. Veterans and Canadian Veterans!!!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

 

Blue Water Aviation Rescues VQD

VQD was the last deHavilland Otter ever made. She was a tired old girl already, though. Still, like all Otters, nothing some TLC in the shop couldn't cure, as an Otter is a very robust airplane. She had seen temperatures from -40*C to +40*C. She had flown on wheels, skis, and floats. She had seen wind and snow and hard landings, and lately had a stint flying locals, tourists, freight, and anything you could get into it or tie onto it. She came to us to be leased for the summer. The engine was high-time, so she was used sparingly.

Just after the turn of the century, during the summer, it happened!!! PBUCK!!! My Buddy Ed Gaffray was at the controls and called me on the radio. "I'm going down!", he said. I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach, but I'm sure the feeling in his stomach and pants was times 10!!!! Anyways, he made it safely to a lake ( now called VQD Lake ), and he and his passengers were rescued safely. The aircraft incurred no damage aside from the blown engine.

Over the next few days, the Professors (Art and Don) from Blue Water Aviation, "Skunk Works Division", worked some more of their magic and changed the engine and rescued old VQD from the bush. The last I heard, she was flying the B.C. coast, but her old Pratt and Whitney radial engine has since been made into an anchor, and she now sports a Walter turbine!!!!!


Good thing an Otter can fit an Otter engine...... Posted by Hello


How come the young guy is watching the old guys work...........??? Posted by Hello


VQD, Serial# 466, the last Otter made. We don't leave them in the bush Posted by Hello

Monday, December 06, 2004

 

Tales from the Cockpit-Sasaginnigak Lake Lodge

Hey folks, me again. Another story just came to mind, so bear with me.

I live in an area where a lot of the geography is only accessible by air, so air transport to some people is like city people getting in a taxi. Anyway, the two stars of the story are Lloyd Leveque and Rhoda Pascal, an aboriginal couple from the local Little Grand Rapids Indian Reserve, 65 miles from our base. Lloyd, a friend of mine, is the male in the couple, and he has a trapper's cabin at Shining Falls, at the south end of Family Lake, and the headwaters of the Pigeon River. Anyways, here is how I remember the tale.

It was the morning of May 16, just after the ice had departed the more southerly lakes. It was a morning of shit weather and wind, not untypical for the time of year, and the fact we were operating off Lake Winnipeg, from a base at Pine Dock. My friend and fellow pilot, Jim Johnson, had picked up Lloyd and Rhoda at Sophie's, a local motel, restaurant, and watering hole. They wanted a Cessna 185 trip to Shining Falls. Needless to say, the trip was delayed, so Lloyd and Rhoda exercised their lips and elbows all day at the bar. Five flights were cancelled that morning, as the weather stayed poor. There were also 8 guests booked into Sasaginnigak Lake Lodge at noon, the Sullivan group.

As the weather improved slightly, and Lloyd and Rhoda deteriorated rapidly, we decided to tempt the elements. I would load 8 people ( Sullivan group ) into the Otter with gear, and go straight to Sasaginnigak and back. Jim would take Lloyd and Rhoda with their gear and excess gear for Sasaginnigak Lodge, go to Sasaginnigak, then Shining Falls, then back to base. As there was excess gear, Jim decided to use the Beaver.

Finally, both aircraft were loaded. Jim was in the office so I loaded Lloyd into the right front seat of the Beaver, and Rhoda behind him. I then said, "See you, Lloyd, have a good flight!" I then closed the doors and proceeded to the Otter. I told the Sullivan group I would be taking all 8 of them, and for some reason they all seemed tremendously relieved. As I loaded them in the Otter, a couple of them milled around me, and finally one guy asked, "Where is Lloyd going?" "He has a trapper cabin at a place called Shining Falls", I replied. "Oh, I see", the gentleman said. I told them their gear in the Beaver would be dropped at Sasaginnigak before Lloyd went to Shining Falls. They stared at me in disbelief! "Has Lloyd worked for your outfit for a long time?" an older gentleman queried. "No", I said, "his camp is private and has nothing to do with our operation", as partial bewilderment started to invade me. "Does he fly here often?" was the gentleman's next question. "Yes, numerous times during spring and summer", I replied. "In that kind of shape?" the gentleman raised his voice. "Yes, Lloyd is usually half in the goose by this time of day", I said, wondering what this guy's problem was. "Doesn't he ever crash?" the gentleman said, his voice up an octave and quavering. "What?" I said,a stupid look on my face as this guy had totally lost me. "Lloyd, doesn't he ever crash?" the man wanted to know. I'd had enough! "What the HELL are you talking about?" I asked the gentleman. "Lloyd flying an airplane in that condition!" he said. Now I clued in and burst into laughter! I said, "My buddy, Jim, the other pilot, is flying the plane and dropping Lloyd off. He is in the office. Lloyd and Rhoda are just waiting for him." "Good Lord!" the gentleman said, "I was really beginning to wonder." At this point in time, sheepishness had invaded his very being to the point that I thought I could see wool stubble growing on his chin. He climbed the ladder into the Otter with his slice of humble pie and I closed the door, shaking my head and grinning. Some people sure can have a misconceived perception of normal, everyday events, as when I said good-bye to Lloyd and closed the door, the group I was transporting thought Lloyd was the pilot.

Anyway, we made it to Sasaginnigak, although we should have been wearing hard hats, it was so rough. Jim managed to find Shining Falls and drop off Lloyd and Rhoda. We both returned to base, and at the end of the day, we had some great laughs about some people's misperceptions, and downed some great Canadian Whisky!


The Sullivan Group always preferred the Otter, especially if Lloyd was flying the Beaver.....!! Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 05, 2004

 

Tales from the Cockpit- Munroe Lake Lodge

Good morning folks, time for a wee tale from the memory banks of my mind.

Last year I was up flying for Munroe Lake Lodge. I had started the Caribou hunt for the lodge in the beginning of September, and had flown a number of groups, guides, supplies, etc., into a number of lakes around Munroe. I was due to be relieved by another pilot, and the last trips I did were to take a new group of guests and guides into Farnie Lake, just east of Baralzon Lake, just south of 60* latitude, in northern Manitoba. Anyways, I was asked by the lodge owner if I had ever heard of Polar Bears in the area. I said "no". Farnie Lake is more than 100 miles northwest of Churchill, MB, where most Polar Bears migrate to at that time of year. Boy, was I wrong. Anyhow, the last trips were done and I was relieved by another pilot.

During the next week the hunt for caribou continued on the tundra. This area is the northern edge of the tree-line. One of the laws in Manitoba states that a guide who is guiding non-resident hunters cannot carry a rifle. ( Oops, what a bonehead rule that is, as you will soon see. ) One day a guide named Steve was guiding a male and a female hunting caribou. They had dropped a caribou. Steve was cleaning the animal, and the guests were at the boat pulled up on shore, over 100' away. Suddenly, Steve looked up and over a small rise appeared TWO Polar Bears, and an Arctic Wolf. I know what I would have done in my pants. Being a top-notch guide, he kept his composure and headed for the boat. ( Remember, he has no rifle. ) The Polar Bears and Wolf kept coming toward the downed caribou, and then one bear started to accelerate towards Steve. He quickened his pace and told one of the guests to shoot over the bear's head. They were hunting with black powder rifles. ( single shot, ouch!!! ) The shot was made and Steve made the boat. He asked the woman if she was menstruating, she wasn't, as this will bring predators for miles, but I guess the caribou blood was enough odour. One of the bears was full grown, and one was a juvenile. From the safety of the boat they watched one of the bears devour the internal organs of the caribou in 2 minutes. They set out for camp, which was quite a distance from where they were hunting, and made it safe and sound. I'm sure good whiskey was consumed as the story was related back at camp. End of the story? Nope!

The next morning another guide named Harold and his group loaded up in a boat and headed south. As they came around a little point close to camp, lo and behold, there was the smaller bear. The bear saw them and followed them along the shoreline as they attempted to make it back to camp, as they were going to warn the other guides and hunters. As they got close to shore, the bear was challenging them. They had had enough. Seven shots from a high-powered rifle were needed to drop the bear, and it was the smaller of the two!!!!! Everybody was safe, they never saw the other bear or the wolf again, a call was made to Natural Resources for the authorization for the guides to carry rifles ( which they received ), and the caribou hunt was finished.

Talk about a great life-story. I can see Steve in my mind's eye at an old age telling his great-grandchildren...." did I ever tell you about the time......?". Come to Manitoba, folks, adventure like no other. By the way, now when someone asks about polar bears, I say " Let me tell you a story......."

 

Leaders in Iraq

Another morning with bomb blasts all over Iraq. Of course, everyone will blame the American forces for the blasts. No, they didn't set them, but because they were directed at them, it is their fault. It reminds me of the North American legal attitudes, "yes, you were raped, but you shouldn't have been wearing sexy and appealing clothing". Blame the victim in some way for being assaulted. Now, I would like to know, WHERE are the LEADERS in Iraq? The leaders at every level, from household, to tribal, to civic, to provincial, etc... I can't believe they can't be strong enough to band together and rid the country of this insurgent plight. Now, some liberal bleeding hearts will say " they are resistance to occupation fighters". That is a total unadulterated crock. They are terrorists and mass murderers preying on the disaffected youth to join them in their so-called "Jihad".{ Boy, is that ever an over-used word lately. } Yes, the American Forces have lost over 1000 men, but when it comes down to the bare-bones reality, these insurgents are murdering Iraqis by the score. They are killing Policemen, aid workers, National Guardsmen, and anyone working with the Coalition to improve the daily life of the average Iraqi civilian. I wish the people of Iraq could embrace the examples of Japan, Germany, and South Korea. These were countries suffering severely after major conflict and the U.S. and her Allies picked them up and helped them out. Japan is an amazing story in itself. With the help of the U.S., Japan went from a feudal society to a manufacturing society, and without many natural resources, competes against the U.S. internationally. I just think this could be a fine example of what the future could hold for Iraq, if the killing ever stops. A country of Rights and Freedoms, hopefully. Anyway, it will take leadership. Will the REAL Iraqi Leaders please step forward??????

Friday, December 03, 2004

 

Every morning I wake up and strap on an Otter....

I'm signing off for today, but before I go I thought I'd put a picture of my horse on the blog. She is a fine machine, built to haul. This picture was taken at Brownstone Lake, northern Manitoba. This was the day the lodge operator threw a box of used, but not totally drained, 6-volt fish-finder batteries, jumbled together in a box, into the cabin area. They shorted each other out, and as I saw the wisps of smoke from a distance coming out of my plane, I made like Ben Johnson on steroids and jumped in the plane and threw the box out into the sand. I had about 25 empty (but full of fumes) jerry cans that had been holding gas 6 feet from the smouldering battery box. I had very choice vocabulary for the lodge operator, but did not kill him. It would be terrible to experience the loss of an aircraft no longer in production, and therefore so valueable, to such a silly mistake. Adios!!!


1000 HP Canadian Back-Bush 4x4 Posted by Hello

 

Some Guys Have a Death Wish or an Angel on their shoulder.....

This is my brother! He apparently has a recessive gene(s)! Yes, they are real, tranquilized Polar Bears!!! He was working with Natural Resources to tag and track these magnificent creatures, as he is a helicopter pilot. They are absolutely amazing. They are the largest bears on earth. Now, I know someone will say grizzlies are bigger. Actually, the largest single bear was an Alaskan Grizzly (Kodiak), but on average Polar Bears are larger. They have been spotted hundreds of miles from shore in Hudson's Bay, swimming after the ice breakup in spring!!!! Hey, tune in, in the next day or two, because I have a story about 2 Polar Bears and and an Arctic Wolf, a guide, two guests, a black powder rifle, and dead caribou!!!! This happened in September of 2003 while I was flying caribou hunters in northern Manitoba, just south of 60* latitude!!!! It is a good story! Adios!!!  Posted by Hello


This is my brother! His name is Gene, Recessive. Do you think?  Posted by Hello