One of the most spectacular mountain flights we have ever taken.
From myriad options and after doing research we chose the Mount McKinley/Denali (same mountain) basecamp and glacier landing trip offered by Talkeetna Air Taxis.
Picked up from our hotel by the companies shuttle bus, and delivered via “glacier-boot” acquisition into the capable and deceptively young hands of Jonathan our pilot and our “ride” for the next hour and three-quarters – the sturdy vintage workhorse that is the De Havilland Beaver.
All the pilots employed by this company are thoroughly experienced – our pilot for instance had parents who were both pilots and he grew up flying aircraft of various sorts.
Holding up to 6 passengers this marvellous piece of aviation history is still the bush plane of preference out here in rural Alaska where the only ways of getting into the remote outposts are by float plane, ATV, or dog sled.
The flight delivered all that was promised as the weather was glorious and although the actual peak of Mount McKinley the highest point in the US remained elusive; it’s base and some of the upper elevations made tantalizing partial appearances through the cloud cover.
We literally flew in and out of the glaciated mountain landscape our wing tips so close to the sheer rock face, hanging glaciers and summits that you felt you could reach out and touch them.
The trip aims to get you up close and personal with Mount Foraker,, Mount Hunter and several faces of Mount McKinley/Denali.
Landing on Ruth’s Glacier was exciting with the plane skiing in and coming to halt at the end of a fast turn. Standing on a glacier, the water molecules of which will take 10.000 years (at current glacier speed) to travel down a glacier highway that looked like a Martian speed track to Talkeetna only a few miles below.
The plane ride was remarkably smooth with no turbulence even between the peaks with an uneventful return across the alluvial valley back to the Talkeetna base ahead of a localized rain belt.
Great narrative, the whole flight was peppered with relevant and interesting information about the peaks, glaciation features and history of the area -all delivered eloquently by the incredibly pleasant and professional pilot Jonathan. The Perfect combination of Pilot and human who made this an awesome experience for even someone like me – who is petrified of flying …….
Over and Out
Brilliant – thoroughly recommend