Ottertail Country

Ottertail Country
Ottertail South

February 23, 2008

Flambeau frolics

A few weeks ago I talked about following the Flambeau river from Ladysmith back toward Phillips. I since have studied the map a little and began to wonder why I didn't notice the confluence of the North and South forks.... then I saw the reason.

Here's a view of the area just after they join. Anyway, the south fork meets the north in an unusual way. The south fork runs into the north in almost the opposite direction that the north fork is flowing.

That makes it almost invisible to one as they are traveling upstream, trying not to run into any trees, rocks, open water and any other hazards along the way (if you are traveling by plane, that is....).
This second view is what everything else in the area looks like once you get west of Lugerville. Trees and then some trees and other stuff, like trees.

It's quite a sight from 1000' above, and quite exiting to view it from about 20' above the ice. It's a big old meandering river that gets progressively wider as it approaches the dam at Ladysmith.

In the upper reaches, some places stay open all winter in the rapids. The snowmobile tracks stop just upstream from here. This is a good place to leave the river valley and get some altitude, as landing on the river here would be iffy, iffen ya nose watt eye meen....

What a great time it was following the river. The photos are a little fuzzy from taking them through the plexiglass windows. And you do need to double click them to see them better.

In the widest area of the river I glanced over and saw my shadow scooting along with me, so I grabbed my camera, tried to pay attention to flying and taking a photo. It took about three tries, but I finally got this one.
At Ladysmith I headed west and flew out over Christie Mountain, north of Bruce. It's a ski hill that we have been to with the Boy Scouts and they were going there Friday night. So I flew a couple circles over the ski area and then headed up to 5500' and a straight flight home to Phillips. I had a slight tailwind up there, so was cruising at 70+ mph. About 35 minutes to Phillips from the mountain. Ten miles west of Phillips I could see the end of Wilson Lake, the end of the Phillips chain farthest west. So I pulled the throttle back to 4000rpm, pitched the plane down so that I was going 60mph and slowly came down from 5500' to lake level without much adjustment. It was just like an approach to land, only much longer. I ended up skimming the ice on the chain of lakes, popping up to cross the land bridges on highway W, then crossing highway 13 to a short approach on runway 06. What fun.

I gotta go, Carlo


yram said...

Nice scenery. I am curious about the confluence of the forks. How interesting. Have you paddled past the meeting of the forks?
You must be ready for another adventure. How about flying over Green Bay? Come on over...we have the photographer.
Long winter.

Carlo said...

Yes, that's on the schedule for this spring when it's a little warmer.... I also want to get to Ashland and make the trip out to Madeline Island and land on the strip out there. I'll keep you posted.


Anonymous said...

Gene, it must be wonderful to take a flight like this but I am too chicken to try it. Do be careful.