Sunday, February 26, 2006


"Fly-In" Fuel Filters.......

Friday morning I was asked if I could do a quick trip to Gunisao Lake to deliver some fuel filters to my friends Rick and Brian Eyolfson. They own Bennett Lake Lodge And Outcamps and are "up" the winter road making a trail to Bennett and Gunisao Lakes. They are using snowmobiles and a large track machine, and are hauling all their supplies and fuel in, and also doing the same for the Gunisao Lodge owners, so when spring comes, they are set to operate. While enroute to Gunisao on the "trail-breaking" trip, they had fuel problems 20 miles from Gunisao. It was quickly determined that it was a fuel filter problem. Rick and Brian's Dad, Wally, picked up some new fuel filters, and he would accompany me to deliver them.

We needed a 4X4 to get down the access road to the airport, as it had drifted in. The aircraft we used was C-185 C-GULA. This aircraft is owned by Rick and Brian, and is the aircraft I used for last year's Duck Mountain's Survey. By the time we prepped the airplane, warmed it up, and loaded our gear, it was just about 2 o'clock. We would just have enough time to go to Gunisao and back, as it is about 175 miles each way, and we would have a stiff head-wind north-bound. Wally and I "crammed" ourselves into the front seats, and with "one last swig" from his "mickey of pre-mixed", Wally was ready, and I opened the throttle. The Kehler fixed-penetration wheel-skis handled the small drifts on the runway, and we were airborne!

"Unforgiving" Lake Winnipeg! Posted by Picasa

A "frozen expanse". Posted by Picasa

The Bradbury River, just north of Bloodvein Indian Reserve "sleeps". Posted by Picasa

You can see where the "winter road" crosses the Bradbury. Posted by Picasa

North, we flew, crossing the Pigeon, Berens, and Etomami Rivers. The animal tracks around the Etomami River were stunning. There was an abundance of moose tracks and ski-doo tracks following the moose tracks. As we neared the Poplar River, we started to see more caribou tracks. We crossed Weaver Lake, and about 20 miles north we saw some caribou. There were 12 on a small lake, but there were tracks everywhere. We continued, and finally Gunisao was in sight. I flew over to survey where I would land on the lake, and picked a nice spot east of the lodge. It looked basically drift-free. I was hoping there wasn't any slush. Wally had had another "swig" of liquid courage about 15 minutes previous, and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the trip and the scenery. I approached the lake, 30* of flap, power-on, and "feathered" the airplane onto the lake. The landing was so soft, you wouldn't have even "spilled your beer"! I kept the power on and made a circle, so I could stop on a packed trail, and look for slush. Actually, the conditions were better than I thought, with granular "sugar" snow, and no slush where we landed. We shut down and were greeted by Rick and Brian.

Gunisao Lodge in the background, and Rick's and Brian's "mounts". Posted by Picasa

Brian fuelling ULA for the trip south. Posted by Picasa

A "Manitoba winter". Posted by Picasa

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Fuelling complete! Posted by Picasa

Due to the lateness of the day, we didn't spend any extra time at the camp, though we would have liked to. We gave the boys the filters, bid them "adieu", and we were southbound! We flew low to where we had seen the caribou earlier, and circled the lake. The caribou looked very healthy, and headed into the bush. We now had a tail-wind, and we "whistled" south!

The "winter road crossing" on lake Winnipeg from Pine Dock to Bloodvein. It looks in decent shape. Posted by Picasa

Well, we landed, secured the airplane, and it was just before dark. Wally was happy that his boys received their parts, and could continue their hauling. Therefore, he offered to buy me a beer, which I accepted. We headed for the bar, but like the old saying goes, "One is too many, and 12 is never enough!", but we made it home safe and sound. Till next time, "Adios!"

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