Saturday, November 19, 2016

Flight to OK Slip Falls near Indian Lake

It's mid November and we have been blessed with warmer than normal fall weather. This pattern is about to be broken by a cold front arriving Saturday that already has snow warnings posted for the area.

Friday however, was a beautiful day. Heading to the airport late morning there were warm temperatures, clear skies, light surface winds and a very stable atmosphere. Planes were flying and the radio full of traffic. I think everyone realized we should make the most of this day.

Where to go? I considered heading down to the lower Hudson over the Catskill Mountains, but headwinds on the return would make for a long ride back and the days are now getting quite short. Winds of 15 kts aloft were forecast to be out of the west over western and central NY but turning sharply to blow from the north over the eastern half of the state.

I decided to go northeast towards the High Peaks to take a look at OK Slip Falls. CNY Hiking - OK Slip Falls. Previously located on private land this waterfall has only recently opened up to the public. It is one of the highest falls in the Adirondack park and has been on my list of places to hike, but haven't had a chance yet.

With the GPS coordinates of the falls entered into ForeFlight and after topping off the tanks I was in the air making a circling climb over the airport before heading east over the Syracuse Class C airspaces' 4,400 foot upper bounds. Until a couple months ago my transponder was out of service, so flying through or even over the Class C airspace was not permitted. I would always go under its upper layers or all the way around.

This gave me a rare look at Onondaga Lake and Hancock Airport. Even my workplace at the Syracuse GMF...
Onondaga Lake from the south at 5,500'

Carousel Mall

Syracuse Hancock International Airport

For all my Postal friends, the Syracuse GMF. 
(Sorry you guys had to work today...)

Oneida Lake

Cruising along in perfectly smooth, though not perfectly clear air, I settled back to relax for the hour or so it would take to reach my destination.

The engine rumbled alone happily until about 10 minutes later. Somewhere over the eastern portion of Oneida Lake while scanning the sky for traffic and enjoying the view, I was pulled out of my relaxed state of mind by a sudden and rapid decrease of engine RPM. Quickly looking at oil pressure, which was normal, I advanced the mixture to "full rich", turned on carburetor heat and turned towards the farmland south of the lake.

The engine returned to normal almost instantly. I continued in a gradual turn back towards home base  while checking to insure that it was simply carburetor icing. Eventually I turned back on course except now adding carburetor heat at regular intervals and there were no further problems. Engine issues over the farmland of Central New York is one thing, there are many, many fields to choose from. In the Adirondack Park there is only a choice of forest, wetlands or lakes. 


I thought this was interesting with both the old Griffiss airbase and the Erie canal in one view. Then I realized that the thruway and NY Central rail line was in the picture as well!

Hinkley Reservoir 

A few years back I kayaked around this lake with the CNY Kayak club.

Indian Lake and the High Peaks beyond

Village of Indian Lake with Blue Mountain beyond. Blue Mountain is a great hike. At the top there is a fire tower that gives great views for many miles around.

OK Slip Falls

ForeFlight and my Bad Elf Pro GPS put me right over the falls! A few turns around for some pictures before heading back to Piseco 30 miles back to the southwest. Because of the unforgiving terrain below I stayed at a reasonable altitude. For a closer look I will hike in someday.

Mountains and haze

Heading back into the sun all the shades of blue as the mountains fade away into the hazy air looked worthy of a picture.

45U on the ramp at Piseco

That is a house in the background with a built-in hangar on the airport side

Piseco Airport

All the way back to Marcellus the sun and haze made picture taking near to impossible. The mostly clear air over the mountains where winds aloft were from the north contrasted sharply with the hazy air in the valleys brought in by western winds.

Great late season flight. Three hours round trip.

As I write this Saturday afternoon the cold front is already entering the area dropping temperatures from the 70's a few hours ago to 50 degrees at 4:00 pm. Rain and snow are following right behind.

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