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Juneau to Talkeetna

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There's really only one real IFR route between Juneau and Talkeetna for a plane without a turbo and oxygen. The route takes you to Sister Island SSR, intercepts T269 at HAPIT, then keeps going all the way to Anchorage TED. Once at anchorage, just turn north to Talkeetna. In my plane, it's about a 4 hour flight.

Mountains

We did the entire flight at 10,000'. When we initially flew out to the ocean, the HAPIT waypoint is a fair bit away from the shore, so I asked for an early turn direct to YAK. ATC cleared me for this, but then turned us a little to keep us far enough away from Mt. Fairweather.

Mount Fairweather

The geology in this region is much more interesting that we had seen so far. The mountains are just starting to get pretty huge. In the distance, I saw a huge peak, and thought "woah, can we see Denali already!?" Turns out, no. I hadn't known that there was another enormous mountain that's only 800' shorter than Denali: Mt. Logan.

Mount Logan

Another amazing thing to be able to see were the various stages of glacial geology. All glaciers start as Cirques, which are the bowls which collect snow over the ages, compressing it into glacial ice. Eventually, these fill up enough that the ice flows into a valley glacier. We got to see many amazing examples of glaciers in every stage of their formation and life-cycle.

Glacial flow

A glacial terminus can be either on land, or on water. We got to see great examples of both. In this case, the glacier is terminating at sea, and the ice is breaking off to become icebergs.

Icebergs

In other cases, the glacier melts while still on land, and produces these silt flats that lead to beautiful waterscapes

Silty Waterscape

Finally, over even more time, these silt flats become beautiful lush landscapes

Lush landscape

The only real complication during the flight was the handoff from Anchorage Center's 119.0 frequency to 119.3. I was told to contact them on 119.3, and if I couldn't make contact in ten minutes. This was at 14:51. At 15:11 I tried again. And again. And again. It ended up being almost an hour before I could finally get them on the radio. In that time, I did have luck relaying messages to them via airliners and freighters above me, so I wasn't overly concerned. But, I was conscious that if I couldn't re-establish communication by Cordoba, AK, then I'd probably be required to land. It's a little bit of a grey-area to me whether I was actually having a communications "problem" that would have required squawking 7600 and doing the communications failure stuff. Another irony is that I didn't have radar service, so no one would see me squawking anyway!

Talkeetna Runway

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