Susan C. Anthony

Fireweed at the hot springs.Grounded in Paradise

July 30 - August 8, 2007

Song of the Sky Loom

From July 30 to August 8, 2007, we wove our own little thread into the sky tapestry. We packed food and camping gear into our Cessna 172 and flew away on a wing and a prayer to some of our favorite places, revisiting sites we'd first seen on our Brooks Range trip 21 years earlier.

At one stop for gas, we heard that a big weather front was coming our way, so we left early and darted through ragged clouds to an isolated hot springs that we knew had a cozy little shelter where we could wait out the storm and soak in the bathhouse whenever we liked. Lucky for us, we were the only people there.

The storm arrived a day later than expected, so Dennis experimented with taking off on the short strip and we visited a nearby village. On our way to the village, we flew over a herd of bull moose. Bull moose are solitary animals, so that was surprising! Near them were four grizzly bears that stood up and batted the air as Dennis flew low so I could take videos. When we returned to the hot springs I discovered that the camera was out of film. None of what I'd seen in the viewfinder had been captured on film. I grieved! When would we ever see something like that again?

The weather front arrived and for three days flying was impossible. Low, thick clouds obscured the nearby hills. To our delight, though, nothing significant had changed at the springs in 21 years. We found log books and read our own 1986 and 1987 entries. Apparently a grizzly had broken into the cabin since our first trip and scattered the log book all over. Someone lovingly picked up all the pages, photocopied them, and bound them together for posterity.

When the weather finally improved, we took a hike through granite tors. At one point, I caught a motion in the corner of my eye. I stopped and pointed it out to Dennis. All we could see was what looked like a stick. You'll learn the rest of the story by watching the video.

The music is "Sonora" by Randy Peterson, from the album Living Desert. Used by permission.


I wept when we left, knowing chances were we'd never return, thanking God that we'd reached Paradise in time to ride out the storm in safety and comfort.

Go on to read Tikchik Lakes
Source:, ┬ęSusan C. Anthony