Excerpt from “Alaska Highway Flight Log” – Chapter: “Reaching The Alaska Highway In British Columbia”

Published May 4, 2017

The Back Way Into Fort Nelson

I got the weather at 6 a.m. from the briefer in Edmonton. The sky would be clear without threat of thunderstorms until late afternoon. “But there will be wind, a lot of it,” the briefer warned. In the hotel dining room I let Albert know what I had learned and then we ordered hotcakes and sausage.

We rode to the airport with a Mexican driver on her first day with the local taxi firm. Her husband had found work in Whitecourt and now she was employed also, she told us. She was happy to be working and happy to be in Canada, she said. We were happy to be leaving Whitecourt with a repaired tailwheel.

We lifted off at 9 under a cloudless, azure sky and flew west northwest, skirting Dawson Creek, the official start of the Alaska Highway. Our original plan, the one scrapped by the bad weather in Bedford and the thunderstorms that prevented us from heading up into Montana, called for a stop at mile marker 1 on the Alaska Highway. I had traveled there by car 20 years earlier to see the first marker in town and the museum at the start of the Highway. But in an airplane, the flatland country approach from the Canadian border is less exciting than doing it by car in which you can stop anywhere you wish. Once the journey enters the mountains for good beyond Fort Nelson, the shoe would be on the other foot and the aircraft the superior way to observe the scenery.