Cabin Creek – Big Creek Expedition, Finale, Frank Church Wilderness, Idaho

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Friday morning we woke up to light rain and low clouds, we wondered about the possibility of spending another few days here waiting for flying conditions to improve….. Luckily we had access to the Forest Service cabin and also had Ian to entertain us. Check out John’s trip report here is you haven’t already. http://www.splattski.com/2021/ita_bigcreek/index.html

I brought extra meals and cached them here just in case!

Luckily, late morning the skies broke and we were able to enjoy a day hike near our base camp. Our scheduled flight was not until 6:00pm.

Part of our job was to inspect the runway and act as the eyes of our pilot. Note the black line across the runway is a waterbar. Since the runway has a significant down slope, these rubber bars move rainwater off the runway to prevent erosion. They do however made small humps which act as jumps when landing and taking off.

Along our day hike we found evidence of historic land use, primarily agriculture were feed and vegetables were grown for the gold rush minors and their stock. On the hillside to the left, you can just make out an irrigation ditch.

What started out as a rainy day had turn quite nice.

John’s reflexive “name that peak” arm was whipping the horizon! You can just about read Mark’s though bubble as “?” and Tom, John’s brother, is clearly glazed over and tuned out.

The clouds indicated that the weather was going to be unsettled. We have very little access to outside information which is one of the charms of the Frank Church Wilderness, living in the moment!

Around 5:00, we moved ourselves and the gear up to the Cabin Creek Airstrip, Gate #1.

Wes and the Twin Otter arrived right on time.

Ian and Mark were acting as our ground crew.

Wes, our pilot, doing pilot stuff.

As the official expedition photographer, my job was to sit in the co-pilot’s seat and shoot photos. Here, Wes is going through the takeoff checklist.

A few moments later, takeoff! Good-bye Cabin Creek.

Back in McCall, it was all hands on deck to unload.

One last thanks to the ITA, USFS, and all my mates from the East Team and West Team. These trips are hard work but amazing and it is an honor to participate!

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