Idaho Flying Trip September 1, 2016

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Today was my second day of back country flying. There was a lot of smoke in the southern canyons from the forest fires to the south so we stayed with the northern airstrips. I landed at Chamberlain, Cold Meadows, Cabin Creek, Soldier Bar and Johnson Creek. Many of the back country airstrips are being worn down due to all the takeoffs and landings and have become very bumpy. My tundra tires were an excellent and necessary investment. The tundra tires, Alaskan Bushwheels heavy duty main landing gear legs, heavy duty tail spring, 3224A tail wheel and vortex generators are perfect for this kind of mission. With two adults, 48 gallons of fuel, 80 lbs of baggage and density alitudes of 4,000 to 9,500 the short-winged, 180 HP Maule did a great job but I had to manage the takeoffs and climbs carefully. Soldier Bar was especially tricky on take off since it was so bumpy and a sharp climbing left turn was required right after lift off.

I don't have any photos or videos of the landings or takeoffs at Chamberlain or Cold Meadows but here is the information from my Fly Idaho book. Click the photo for a larger version.Cold meadows is the highest back country airstrip in this area at 7,030 feet.
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Cabin Creek is a very pretty airstrip. It's one of my favorites.Click the photo for a larger version.The approach is tricky due to the high terrain all around the airstrip. Like many of these back country airstrips, this one is one-way in and out. Click the photo to see the YouTube landing video.
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I have a picture on the wall next to my desk at work of me standing in front of Lori MacNichol's Super Cub at Cabin Creek in 2012. Now I have one with my Maule. Click the photo for a larger version.Three guys on horses with pack mules showed up after I landed at Cabin Creek. It's an unusual sight next to the airplane. Click the photo for a larger version.
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The scenery is one of the reasons that I like Cabin Creek so much. Click the photo for a larger version.Here's a YouTube video of the take off from Cabin Creek. Click the photo.
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Next was Soldier Bar - one of the more difficult airstrips that sits high on the side of a canyon close to the canyon wall. Click the photo for a larger version.The runway is very bumpy - making me again thankful for my tundra tires. Click the photo to see the YouTube video of the landing.
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The take off at Soldier Bar was even trickier. The runway was so bumpy that the airplane hopped into the air early. I lowered the nose and flew in ground effect to accelerate but soon had to bank left to clear the canyon wall. Click the photo for the YouTube video.Here is a photo on the way to Cabin Creek captured from one of the GoPro videos. Click the photo for a larger version.
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This one is close to Soldier Bar. Click the photo for a larger version.Smoke prevented us from landing at Bernard so we did some takeoffs and landings at Johnson Creek then headed back to McCall. We landed on runway 17, took off on 35 and circled back to land on runway 35 for training purposes to show the different approaches. I came in at an angle when landing on runway 35 and turned over the runway approach end to avoid the houses.Click the photo for the YouTube video of Johnson Creek.
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The hotel messed up my reservation change and called me to ask why my stuff was still in the room. After fixing that, I did laundry and wrote this blog post. I start back home early tomorrow. I had a great time in McCall and learned a lot about my airplane. It's an ideal configuration for the back country even with the 180 hp engine and short wing. In fact, the 4-cylinder 180 hp might be a better choice than a 6-cylinder engine for this kind of flying because it weighs 200 lbs less and the lighter nose means there is less chance of nosing over when using the brakes on a short field.