August 18, 1990 -- Day 20

Watson Lake YT to Saskatoon SASK

(bottom of page)

Watson Lake Awakening as soon as it was light this morning, we breakfasted on hot coffee and granola bars (from the Res-Q Pak) and were in the air before sunrise.

We got through the difficult Liard River/Muncho Lake area without too many problems, only getting lost once. We made it to Fort Nelson in good shape but then things started to deteriorate weather-wise. A low-level trough was engulfing Edmonton and threatening to spread further west. The weather was coming up from Montana, which was also under IFR conditions.

We were able to make it to Whitecourt under VFR conditions, but everything to the south definitely looked to be IFR. Going back out through Calgary and Great Falls did not look promising and without approach plates we felt we should not file IFR.

Hampered by IFR conditions to the south and unwilling to risk it without Canadian approach plates, we concluded that our best course of action was to continue traveling east. The weather definitely looked much better in this direction, and from Winnipeg we could go almost straight south into the Minneapolis area. We were under marginal VFR conditions around the Edmonton area, but conditions improved once we got further east. We reached Saskatoon as darkness fell.

It was an extremely long and tiring day. The Hobbs meter recorded ten hours of time, and we covered a distance of 1,134 statute miles. If our luck continues to hold, we will be home tomorrow night.

One interesting procedural difference did occur during the day's flight. While in contact with the Edmonton controllers we were assigned an individual transponder squawk code. One controller kept asking us to "Squawk it up, 28X" -- a statement that was totally meaningless to us. It took several repetitions before it was finally understood that "squawk it up" means to ident the transponder.

Approaching Whitehorse

Glossary of aviation terms or Map of the trip
Shortcut to any specific day or location

Previous day or next day or

  Seize the Sky home page

Linda Dowdy
Bethel, Minnesota
Comments or questions? E-mail me at

Copyright © 2003 Linda Dowdy, last revision 030212