October, 2011

Over the Canyon

Gary again won the silent auction for a flight around the Bozeman area in an open cockpit biplane. This is a summary of his flight. Note that the photos are a bit blurry due to the vibration of the airplane and buffeting of the wind.

Denny (Dennis Guentzel, our neighbor to the northwest) pilots a 1929 WACO and takes the auction winner for the flight. Our respective busy Summer schedules prevented us from taking a flight during warm weather. By the time both of us were free the weather had turned cold and wet so it looked like it would have to wait until next Spring. However, Denny called at noon on October 14 to say there was going to be a short break in the weather so we hurried to the airport to get going. There was still snow on the mountains from a recent storm, but the temperature at the field was in the 50's.

The quickest way to Bridger Canyon from the airport was through Ross Pass (just right of center) so Gary wanted to go that way. However, as we neared the pass, Denny noted that we had a 40 knot tail wind and was concerned about the turbulence we would experience as we crossed to the east of the pass.

We headed down the west side of the Bridger Mountains, took a turn around the “M” and followed the highway up the canyon.

We circled the house several times so I could get lots of pictures. Here is a view of the front (north side) of the house. Our little RV is parked at the lower level to the right of the house. A picture of the south side of the house is here. The dirt to the left of the house and to the right and below the house is top soil we are spreading to help restore more natural vegetation.

After circling the house, we flew a few miles to see a house that had blown up the week before. Unfortunately, the owner of the house was killed in the blast. As Assistant Chief of the Bridger Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, Denny had responded to the call before 2AM and was the person who found the badly burned body of the owner. As we flew around the site, we could see glints of broken glass spread up the hill and down to the driveway at the bottom of the picture. Had the explosion occurred before the recent weeks of cold and wet weather there would have been a major forest fire. The suspected source of the blast was a gas leak. Here is the satellite view taken shortly before the explosion.

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