Thursday, March 19, 2009

Minam River Wedding - Part 3

August 21st was quickly approaching. We made plans to fly into the Minam from Baker, OR in a small bush plane. There are only two ways into the Minam Lodge – by foot or horse on a trail, or by air. Mr. Squash had been there several times before we met and had always gone in on guided horseback. It’s an eight mile journey on a very narrow, steep trail with long drop-offs in many spots. If your horse is spooked by a bear or cougar you need to hold on tight! Being that this was a momentous occasion, we didn’t want to spoil it with the demise of either one or both of us just in getting there! So flying it was, which we had done several times out of LaGrande. But, being adventurous as we are, we decided to try going in from Baker this time.

We arrived at the Baker airfield on August 19th. Dick, our pilot, who is an extremely nice gentleman escorted us to the plane which was ready and waiting next to the runway. It was a small Cessna – a nice, comfy little plane with great windows, not the regular super-charged turbo prop that was out of service for regular maintenance! We stowed our bags and fishing rods, hopped in and taxied out to the runway where the plane promptly stalled. This was not a good sign. Mr. Squash isn’t very keen on flying as it is, and a horse was looking real good to him at that moment! Dick very patiently tried several times to restart the engine, but it only coughed and sputtered. He wasn’t able to make anything happen, so he radioed back to the tower to call the mechanic. Unfortunately, it was early Sunday morning and the mechanic was nowhere to be found when they called him at home. We had no choice but to deplane and walk back to the waiting area from the runway.

Dick apologized profusely and said they would continue to try to reach the mechanic and let us know when the plane might be ready. An hour later and several more calls would not produce the mechanic. We aren’t sure to this day why, but the pilot called the high school kid who had cleaned out the plane from the day before – maybe trying to find the mechanic. He actually had a suggestion – maybe as he was cleaning, he could have accidentally bumped the emergency fuel valve and turned it off. Bingo! No mechanic needed! By this time the plane had been towed back to the hangar. Once situated back on the plane we promplty flew out of Baker. It was a glorious, sunny day and proved to get quite warm later in the day.


Now flying into the Minam has its own “issues”. It is always best to fly in and out in the early morning. The box canyon we fly into can get notoriously hot which isn't good for uplift when flying a plane. When you're coming out of a box canyon, you want all the lift you can get. Also, the landing strip doubles as a pasture and there is no real up-keep other than if anyone happens to be walking down to the river from the lodge and sees rocks of any size, they pick them up and cast them aside! Usually if there are deer, elk, horses, mules, the occasional cougar or turkeys on the runway they scatter as soon as they hear the plane.

The rest of our flight was mostly uneventful and we arrived in one piece. This is a video of landing at the Minam which we found on You Tube.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of Minam River Wedding!

14 comments:

Kay said...

I've been thinking this was a really cool wedding until I got to flying the little plane into the box canyon! No thanks. But obviously you survived. Waiting for the next installment--

Stephanie said...

Talk about threading a needle...sheesh that landing looks like one of those death drop rides at an amusement park. Good thing you and Mr. Squash House are adventurous!

Anne said...

Holy Moly.... I would have gone in on horseback with Mr Squash! The YouTube video link wasn't showing for me.

Kaaren said...

NOT IN A MONTH OF SUNDAYS!

Yikes! Ollie, quick pass me the bag under the seat! Oops, not quick enough.

Okay, I'll clean it up after we come to a complete stop.

Candace, you're one brave lady!

Now I'm off to clean up the mess I made before part four.

Ulla said...

This is getting more exciting all the time!

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Ok for me, for sure no horse, for sure no plane, I would walk!! What am I going to do when this story is over, you would make a great author, keep writing girl!!

Trisha said...

This is so fun to read about your wedding adventure. Fun to see the plane land. Wow!

Carrie P. said...

Girl, I am sure I would have a much easier place to get you. That landing looked scary.

sewtakeahike said...

This would have been a dream wedding for my husband! He would have been all over this! Gotta love an adventurous man!

Carrie P. said...

Hey, just wanted to say congrats on your win from the painted quilt. Did you win something from Fresh Figs too? If that was you congrats on that win too.

Cindy said...

It was so fun watching the You Tube of flying into Minam. Makes you appreciate how they get all the "stuff" there to have a wonderful place.

I'm enjoying this..alot.

To be continued.........

CJ said...

I do believe I'd be riding in myself, LOL

Jackie said...

I'm not sure I would survive being on such a small plane with such a perilous landing. Gulp!

Linda B. said...

That is so totally cool. I can't believe you found that landing video! This is really fun.