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We awoke to rain again this morning. After a talk with the FSS people, we decided to file IFR down to Talkeetna. Due to the scarcity of nav aids there are not many IFR routes in Alaska. For those that do exist, few of them have MEA altitudes that accommodate themselves to general aviation aircraft operating without oxygen on board. There was an acceptable airway down to Talkeetna however. At the MEA of 10,000 feet we were totally on the gauges and started showing signs of light rime icing on the OAT. Since we couldn't go any lower, we asked for 11,000 feet. At that altitude we didn't accumulate any more ice -- but neither did any of it disappear. With pitot heat on, we increased power in order to minimize our time aloft. The ice was visible on the cowling, the OAT, and the wings. By the time we reached pattern altitude at Talkeetna however, it had completely disappeared. It was my first experience with ice, and it certainly did get my attention!
Talkeetna is a quaint little town, about one street wide and perhaps a mile long. It is the "jumping off" place for mountain climbers who tackle Mt. McKinley. We stayed at the Fairview Inn. This is a rather unique place, but I don't hesitate to recommend it. A large, square two-story building, the entire downstairs area appears to be a bar. Upstairs there are seven bedrooms, with two baths at the end of the hall. While different, it is clean and well-kept. The owners are extremely nice and go out of their way to be helpful and accommodating.
Talkeetna is also the home of the K-2 Aviation Service. Their specialty is flying climbers up to the mountain, landing them on the Kahiltna Glacier. The Cessna 185 on skis is used for this work.
The mountain -- McKinley aka Denali aka the Great One -- dominates everything. It really is a major reason for the town's existence. Today it was completely shrouded in clouds. I hope we'll have a chance to see it tomorrow.
Tom went fishing and caught three salmon. Hooray!
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Copyright © 2003 Linda Dowdy, last revision 030302