blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Day 4: a short one

Climbing out from Marathon
Today we only flew for one and a half hours but it counts as quality time.

The same taxi driver from Bob's Taxis drove us up to the airport on a beautiful clear morning while Chris explained to her what the VOR was, on the hilltop. Take off time was 9:45. Making a right hand turn out over the town, we saw last night's walk, although not the thick patches of vetch, clover, marguerites, buttercups and evening primroses by the roadsides from this height. Most of the way to Thunder Bay we were off shore, following the line of islands. 4500ft over Terrace Bay we clearly saw the crossed out (disused) runways as well as the large pulp mill there belching out a plume of smoke that drifted for miles downwind.

Terrace Bay, with the disused airport behind the smoke
Over the dappled islands
Heading out across the islands

The irregularly shaped islands were dappled with cloud shadows ... mention of this sparked a conversation later, on the pier at Thunder Bay, about the poet Gerald Manley Hopkins ("Glory be to God for dappled things ...") ...and Chris was noticing the white rocks edging the islands and the hills rising beyond them. There were hills, cliffs, chasms and small lakes on the islands themselves, no sign of human intervention other than the highway in he distance snaking along.

Beneath us the water looked transparent at first then multicoloured--green, grey, brown, creamy--where it had been stirred by currents. As we rounded the northwestern corner of the lake I thought of young Terry Fox making his incredible, painful way here from the east of Canada on his one leg and then collapsing and dying before he could cover the remaining half of Canada. There's a memorial to him in Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay waterfront, from over the lake
On the radio we were in touch with Thunder Bay terminal who informed incoming pilots that the glide slope was inoperable; it didn't affect us and came back into service after a while. Winds at the airport were light and variable. First we thought runway 25 would be the one to approach, but then that changed to 07. We were kept on a long downwind leg while a Dash 8 and Bearskin aircraft landed ahead of us. For practice or fun, Chris flew the ILS approach to 200ft above ground, unnecessary since we'd been seeing the runway quite clearly from a distance of 35 miles away.

Escarpment beyond Thunder Bay

Posing with life jacket at Thunder Bay
At the Prince Arthur hotel
Long discussion on whether to risk continuing west into a band of "weather" or not. In the end we cautiously decided not to take the risk of running into possible storms or being stranded in Kenora or Dryden, and so booked a room at the Prince Arthur Waterfront Hotel (where we have stayed once before) and spent a cool, grey, peaceful afternoon downtown by the marina with the grebes, seagulls and boys with their scooters and skateboards to entertain us. It has been raining here, but not alarmingly. Maybe we could have continued westwards after all.

Family of grebes, Thunder Bay

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