hard to believe living where i live that i've never been in a float plane, but it's true. not because i don't like small planes, not because i haven't known people who've owned them... really it's hard to explain. if you don't have a reason to go, money to go, or someone who will graciously invite you for a ride it just doesn't happen. i guess because the gas is costly. or maybe because so many people would ask... but it's always seemed like something "other" people did, like you had to be invited into the club.
Jer arranged the whole thing as a surprise on my birthday, apparently not so unattainable after all!
Jer figured if we were going to pay someone, we may as well pay family, so initially he asked my cousin Mike. Mike doesn't really do scenic rides and he was really busy with orders for his business that day, so he recommended we go to Northwest Flying Inc. just down the road from Mike's place in Nestor Falls. I always like going to Nestor Falls ... there is so much family history there and it is so beautiful.
Before we went to for the ride we went to Caliper Lake Provincial Park. I have driven by so many times, always saying "someday, we'll make time to stop." I am told we have stopped there when we were kids but i have no memory of that - so it kind of counts as a first.
though there was a wind, it was still warm and sunny. we had the whole beach, playground and everything all to ourselves. i was grateful because i didn't want to blind anyone with the reflection of the sun off my winter white nordic skin! the fairness of my skin is always shocking in the spring! :-) i am trying to follow through on this 30 day meditation challenge - so first i sat on a picnic table, but quickly moved into the sand... first time i have practiced outside. i learned i need to do it alone ... :-) I did go for my first lake swim... and on my birthday too!
After the beach we went back for the ride. The wait was worth it. To see from above the land and the lakes that i have zipped over and by all of these years was an amazing new perspective. Things i never knew were there, seeing the lake and river i have paddled a canoe down, seeing the expanse of the area of Lake of the Woods, so full of islands and inlets that it was hard to realize that it was all one lake and not dozens of separate ones like on the other side of the highway. i never knew Crow Lake was so huge. during the flight i thought of my mom and dad - they both worked in Nestor Falls when they were young. i thought of my grandfathers and their guiding on the lake. and i thought about my uncles and aunts who have worked and lived there. The man who owned Northwest Flying Inc, said he knew Keith and Ronnie, and Alfred of course... so I thought of all of them. Flying over Crow Lake I thought of Keith and his smile - his jovial spirit and ready smile set him apart from most people i've met.
my favourite part of the flight was the take off - the sound of the engines pulling us up and away from the earth and feeling the amazement of over coming the law of gravity. the great thing was we took off down this narrowish channel, with rocks and trees on either side. as we climbed over the tree tops it was like peeking over a fence into a totally new perspective of lush green forests. then as we got higher to see more and more water - blue and green and aqua, sometimes glistening and sometimes black. Seeing the world from that perspective really does change things - and maybe it was only for that flight, but for those moments i left my cares behind me.
ps - i was really glad we didn't crash! all of us really enjoyed our first float plane ride. oh, and the landing was as smooth as any landing I have ever felt!