Soaring above fall
In our office we are constantly asked where one can go to see the fall colors the best. After yesterday afternoon I can unequivocally tell people where that "spot" is. That spot would be about 4,000 feet up in the air! We were fortunate yesterday to be treated to a scenic flight from Lake Placid airport by Steve Short of Adirondack Flying Service. I've taken these flights on previous occasions, but never in the fall when the leaves were near peak color. It was nothing short of spectacular.
It was an unbelievable fall day although it felt more like mid-summer. The temperature was hovering around 80 degrees late in the afternoon on September 27, way warmer than normal. The sky was blue. As we stood in the terminal of Lake Placid Airport we were marveling at the colors, that it didn't feel like fall and how could we possibly be so lucky this year with the weather. Steve Short, owner of Adirondack Flying Service, arrived at the airport and got our 6-seater Cessna Stationair 206 prepped for flight. In we piled. The plane is equipped with these handy dandy little headsets so you can hear and talk to everyone in the plane without the sound of the engine drowning out the conversation. You also get to hear all the cool chatter between the pilot and air traffic controller. So, on went the headsets, whirrrrrrr went the prop and off we went down the runway. While taxiing to the end of the runway Steve alerted us to look out for a moose he had spotted on the side of the runway earlier in the day. Unfortunately, we didn't get a glimpse of Bullwinkle. Too bad. We love seeing moose!
We took off toward the Northwest and slowly climbed, circling around the village of Lake Placid below, as the cars and people and buildings slowly got smaller and smaller and smaller. Gradually, the expanse of the Adirondacks became visible as we climbed higher. It's a humbling experience being so high above the ground and realizing just how big the Adirondack wilderness is out there - six million acres sprawling out below us. How on earth searchers find people when they are lost in the High Peaks is a wonder I can't ever quite comprehend, but more especially when gazing down on it from three or four thousand feet!
All of a sudden we noticed ---- there's COLOR in them thar hills! Leaves are now pretty close to peaking, so we were rewarded with a view of hillsides blanketed in the magnificent spectacle our visitors flock here to see every fall. The photos I shot through the windows of the plane are muted due to the glass and reflections, so when you view them, double the vibrance in your mind and you'll get the real picture.
Red line on the map is our approximate route
We flew over several golf courses, which, unfortunately wound up on the South and West sides of my view each time, so photographing them was impossible due to the late afternoon sun glare. I was reminded of how wonderful golfing is in the fall. The colors and the lower temperatures create a phenomenon that seems conducive to improving your golf swing. It must the be a psychological reaction to all that sensory input! At any rate, check out our website for current golf packages and book a reservation.
Flying over the mountains and valleys you would never see except from the air is such an amazing experience. Everyone should try it at least once.
We flew East toward Lake Champlain above the cliffs on the side of Pitchoff, through the most colorful valley in the area, lying between Pitchoff and Route 86 to Wilmington. The colors were amazing and the rolling hills and High Peaks were magnificent. As we flew on over toward Upper Jay we could look down the valley along Route 9N toward Keene, and as we peered down we could catch a glimpse of what remained of The Land of Makebelieve, a former theme park in Upper Jay, closed for many years, the remnants all but obliterated. The Cinderella Castle, recently undergoing rehab work by a group of dedicated fans of the place, gone. There is nothing left of it now after the torrential rains and flooding from Hurricane Irene. Sad, indeed.
We flew on over to Lake Champlain and beyond, and brought home with us many photos and great memories of the beautiful day. It's certainly a fun activity and very economical. It costs as little as $40 per person (minimum two) for a 20 minute scenic flight, with a choice of three tours. If you have qualms about flying in small planes, the pilots at Adirondack Flying Service are amazing. Steve Short, especially, has more experience and thousands of hours flying in the mountains. He is the best. He jumps in and out of planes and takes off into the sky just like you and I get in and out of our cars and drive every day. You need never have apprehension about flying with these folks. Even if you're nervous about flying in general, make it a goal to try it sometime. It's an experience you won't ever forget and you'll be glad you did - especially in the fall.