Lloyd called me... get to the airport, there's somebody here you need to see!
So, I left WM and hustled to the airport. There, an unknown camper on a pickup. Hmm, Colorado plates... hmm,
Old friends David from Colorado, and Don from Arkansas (formerly Colorado). David's on his rambling way to Florida for Sun 'n Fun Fly-in, in April. If you could clone Lloyd, this would be the result, right down to the uniform. Don's another story, he just sighs and laughs and rolls his blue eyes.
At the moment, David was phoning my sister in Grand Junction, hoping she'd recognize his phone number but hearing my voice. She was speechless. And the earth stopped turning!
I started remembering my trip to Glenwood Springs in September, 2007 for a class reunion, and hunted up these photos of a flight up to the top of the world. David has a Super Cub with 200 hp engine, big balloon tires for landing off-runway. (He showed us photos of the Cub on skiis at this same location on the Flattops Range at 10,000 feet. If I catch up with him at Sun 'n Fun, I'll beg one of his pictures, as I forgot to do that today).
This was after landing at the top.
We landed uphill toward the left, ending up in that treeline at the top of the ridge.
The pictures below are taking off from the meadow at 10,000 feet.
That ridge just beyond the pines trees at the bottom of the valley is home, where the Colorado River cuts through the Rockies.
See that clearing in the photo below, in between the struts? That's David's old runway at Possum Creek. Yes, it's uphill all the way.
Below, that's David's current 3-Mile International runway. See that little white spot? That's a storage trailer, and his runway is beyond that white spot. That's Mount Sopris in the distance, landmark for the area, with Aspen just around the bend and beyond. It's called 3-Mile because it's 3 miles from the Colorado River to the point where it takes off uphill. There's a 4-Mile Road on farther, but it just keeps going and going until it reaches Sunlight Ski Area, about 12 miles later.
This is 3-Mile International Runway. We couldn't land because the cattle wouldn't move off their grazing patch. So we went on back to civilization and the pancake breakfast at Glenwood. (Yes, that's a runway).
Glenwood Springs Airport with the Roaring Fork River winding past both ends. The powers that be would like to have that land for development, but there are a few stubborn folks who won't let it be closed. The closest airports in the area are Aspen, which is in an even tighter mountain squeeze than this one 40 miles south, Rifle 30 miles west down the Colorado River canyon to the left, and Eagle 25 miles to the right up the canyon to the east toward Vail, Loveland Pass and Denver 180 miles away.
Cousins Jody and Mike from Las Vegas flew in to Glenwood and gave me my first small airplane ride out of Glenwood Airport. I was hooked! Fonda and Grant also had their first plane rides, that was back in late 70s.
When I moved to Missouri, they told me I was in the Ozark Mountains. So naturally I asked, "Mountains? Uh, where?"
This is Independence Pass, out of Aspen. "It doesn't look like that here", I said. "Well, these are the "old" mountains." Ok, yeah, well...
First day of school, 6th grade -
4 weeks ago