You are hereJuly/August 2012

July/August 2012

It’s the height of the summer flying season and we’re bringing you a full array of summertime adventures in this issue! We cover an historic Pennsylvania town where you can fly in for an air show, stroll incomparable gardens established by the DuPont family, and visit a famous museum. Minnesota is delightful this time of year, and we’ll take you to a charming small town in that state. Out west, you can fly in to an exquisite airpark surrounded by spectacular mountains and trout-filled streams, not far from Jackson Hole. Those with mountain flying skills and equipment can drop in to a luxury ranch in Idaho’s deep wilderness, along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River.

Alpine, Wyoming

Most people have heard of Jackson Hole where the magnificent Tetons tower above the homes of movie stars. Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy takes you to lesser-known Alpine, just 30 nm south of Jackson Hole. This recreational pilot’s paradise is home to Alpine Airpark, which may just be America’s most beautiful airpark. The superb, jet-friendly runway abuts the deep blue Palisades Reservoir. To the south, three trout-filled rivers run into the reservoir: the Snake, the Greys, and the Salt. From the air you’ll note the gorgeous Western-style homes of rustic wood, rock, and glass, surrounded by small lakes, green grass, and a tall fountain that serves as an additional windsock. Once you land, you’ll appreciate the views these homeowners live with every day—mountains that tower in every direction and beckon residents and visitors alike. You can rent a townhome right at the airpark that comes with a private hangar and use of a 4x4 vehicle for adventures into the mountains. The area offers endless trails where you can hike, mountain bike, ride a horse or small ATV, as well as snowmobile in winter. When you reach the top of the pine-clad hills, you’ll see valleys and canyons below and mountain ranges from the Tetons to the Wind Rivers. And the trout? These beautiful creatures, especially the native cutthroat varieties, are nothing less than exquisite, and the fishing here is legendary. You can fish on your own or hire an expert guide and boat, even stay overnight at a fishing lodge, cabin, hotel, or motel. Back in Alpine, you can try a tandem hang glider flight before enjoying dinner in one of several good restaurants. You may just find yourself taking a closer look at owning one of these airpark hangar-homes and joining the friendly group of flying fanatics who call this place home.

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

Southeastern Pennsylvania is home to the Brandywine Valley, where over half of America’s mushrooms are grown. In this valley you’ll find the lovely Kennett Square, a wonderful place to visit year-round but especially in summer, as author Kimberly Poremski explains. Late August brings a wonderful air show to the New Garden Airport, with warbirds, vintage airplane rides, aerobatic performers, comedy, music, food, and a number of children’s activities. In early September, the Mushroom Festival celebrates Brandywine Valley’s famous fungi. You won’t want to miss the nearby Longwood Gardens, a spectacular indoor and outdoor botanical wonder founded by Pierre du Pont and spread out over more than 1,000 acres. The fountain garden features enormous fountains shows set to music, with water spraying up to 130 feet in the air. Restaurants and exhibits round out the garden’s activities. You can also catch a concert, visit the famous Wyeth Museum, taste local wines at an exquisitely designed winery, shop, and take in the period architecture. Dining options are many, with both casual and upscale restaurants from which to choose. When it’s time to retire, relax in a romantic B&B furnished with opulent antiques. Wake the next morning to superb, fresh, gourmet breakfasts prepared and served with care.

Stillwater, Minnesota

Join author Patricia Strutz as she takes us to Stillwater, the romantic “City of Stairways” on the banks of the peaceful St. Croix River. A perfect Midwest escape for late summer/early fall, the picturesque town and grand mansions are best seen by traversing the tall stairways, and the streets are pedestrian-friendly. Specialty shops, small bistros with verandas, and cozy inns line the quiet lanes. One unique shop offers everything for the gourmet cook; another deals in rare historic theological books. Down by the river, your eyes will be drawn to the historic vertical lift bridge that spans the water. The movable span is raised 48 feet to allow clearance for approaching boats. . You can ride on the water too, in a pontoon boat or a Venetian gondola, complete with gourmet munchies and even a romantic crooner should you so desire. Paddlewheel boat cruises are another way to experience the river while also enjoying lunch or dinner. Local vineyards offer wine tasting and also supply some of the superb local bistros. Choose from healthy riverside restaurants, an Irish pub, or dine at a stately Inn. For accommodations, choose from a waterfront Inn, a B&B located within a Victorian mansion, or other hotels. You’ll arrive home refreshed, recharged, and ready to return next year!

Thomas Creek, Idaho

In this issue, Galen Hanselman, author of “Fly Idaho!” takes you to his new favorite Idaho retreat, the Middle Fork Lodge at Thomas Creek. For years, he had been flying in for “under the radar” visits to the local hot springs. When he finally decided one day to stop in to the lodge and say hi, he was blown away by the accommodations, the food, the ambience, and the friendliness of the proprietors. The ranch has been an enormous undertaking to build and maintain; every piece of this ranch was flown in by airplane or helicopter. Guest cabins are comfortable and offer sitting decks and river views; one has a kitchenette. But you probably won’t need it, since the lodge serves three gourmet meals daily from a menu that is ever-changing. You’ll soon see how this deluxe lodge can be your base for plenty of hiking, fishing, or hunting adventures, on your own or with a guide. Located deep within one of America’s largest wilderness areas, wildlife abound in the area, from bighorn sheep, deer, and elk, to wolves, bears, and mountain lions.

Backcountry Etiquette & Safety—Part II

In the first part in the May/June issue, Technical Editor Crista V. Worthy discussed how to choose a backcountry destination commensurate with your flying skills and equipment and how to choose an airstrip in an environment appropriate for your planned activities, whether they are to land solo for quiet camping and hiking, or whether you plan a flight with multiple aircraft and group activities. In this issue, she covers important safety tips, from checking for fire-related TFRs and NOTAMS to proper backcountry radio and noise abatement procedures while enroute. Ground operations on non-paved airstrips also require attention to detail, and you’ll get plenty of handy tips on how to taxi without damaging delicate areas or other people’s property, tie-down procedures, and pre-takeoff items. You’ll also get recommended emergency supply lists and important tips from long-time backcountry pilots on how and when to take off (or stay on the ground). Be sure to read this before you depart for your next backcountry adventure!