Monday, May 28, 2012

Sunday flight to Alexandria Bay

Our flying season is underway! Last week Dansville, NY for a fly-in breakfast, this week north to Alexandria Bay. It took a while to start flying more regularly because of other commitments but finally we are getting into the air!

When talking about places to fly during last weeks' adventure, Kate said she always wanted to see the 1000 Islands from the air. This part of the St Lawrence River is a favorite destination of mine. It it's not that far from my home, only about 2 hours by car and under an hour in our 150. For a few years, back in the 60's, my parents rented a cabin on Wellesley Island's Lake of the Isles.

As a kid I spent hours exploring along the lichen covered rocky shoreline of the area from a little rowboat with a 10 HP engine. Everything was interesting to me and so different from my home in Central New York less than a hundred miles to the south. Pine trees growing from granite rock that rose steeply from the water. Small bays filled with cattails and bass. Leaving lake of the Isles through one of two channels brings you out into the current of the St Lawrence where the water swirled around the many islands or submerged rocky shoals. Always the feel of adventure.

Forty years later I paddled those waters again in my kayak and they are even more exciting than they were back then.

From the air this area is breathtaking. So many islands, small outcrops of rock and many shoals so easily visible from above but frequently invisible to boats navigating the river resulting in the many ships lining the bottom of this river.

(click any image for large size)
Flying north from Watertown we joined the St Lawrence at Clayton as the Algosteel makes the sharp turn to stay in the channel. A few years back I was in Fineview watching a ship approaching from the west, and was able to see this turn being made in the distance. One moment the ship was at an angle to me, next time I looked it was almost straight on.

A moment before, the ship had just made the turn and its wake shows just how tight a turn it is.

Finveview, NY. A pavilion along the waterfront is great place to watch the passing ships. At the other end of the park to the left is a hotel that posts the schedule of passing ships. To the right across the street from that is an ice cream shoppe with many interesting and unique flavors.

The Thousand Island bridge. There is a walkway along the western side of the bridge and if you've never walked on a suspension bridge before it is quite an experience. The bridge moves and bounces with passing trucks. When a truck weighs down one side, the other goes up then down as the truck passes. With my fear of heights it was to say the least, exciting, and a little scary. I've been across it 3 times. Just like fire towers which scare the heck out of me, I force myself to do these things at every opportunity.

Alexandria Bay. The Mearsk Illinois about to pass Boldt Castle.

We landed for a short stop at Maxon Field located a mile or so south of the town of Alex Bay. The airport is abandoned and falling into disrepair. It is amazing that a tourist town with so much money doesn't value having an airport located within walking distance. Flying across the south it is a different story. They realize the value that an airfield brings to an area. In the south airports are well maintained with spacious and beautiful pilots lounges.

On the way back we flew along the shore of Lake Ontario, another favorite destination of mine. Last weekend I camped at Southwick Beach State Park. It was the last weekend before Memorial Day when things really pick up. I got a prime camping spot along the waterfront and had the place mostly to myself. I was in the spot opposite the tree in the water and right next to the walkway across the barrier dunes.

There I experienced one of the most beautiful and colorful sunsets ever...

1 comment:

Kate said...

Beautiful images and interesting details about the destinations and the shipping traffic. You could photograph this area forever and probably still miss one or another tiny island. That was a great flight George, thanks for the company and the commentary.