Up In The Air, Junior Birdman!

posted Mar 21, 2011, 11:08 AM by Paul Wagner
Lots of people wrote in about our airline view of the High Sierra.  Here's what one reader had to say:
Last week I also had the pleasure of flying from SFO to IAD. I was on the right side of the plane on a window seat, so I got to see a view of the snow-covered Sierras to the south. I was able to identify the Tuolomne Canyon, and our route went a bit north of Mono Lake, and just south of Hawthorne NV and Walker Lake. A bit later I was also pleased to be able to identify Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park in eastern NV.
It really is fun when you get a good clear day and you're in a window seat flying over mountains.
Very cool.  We've never visited Great Basin, but it's on our list.  So we asked DD:  Have you spent some time there?  What's your opinion?
And he replied:
I have actually never been there, though it is also on my list - I just recognized the distinctive glacier-carved cirque and realized there was probably nothing else anywhere near there that it could be. I was able to get a good look at the snow-covered roads going to the base, on the east side, and I memorized their rather distinct looking switchbacks so I could check on a map when I got to DC.

By chance, my airplane reading material was a National Geographic guide to national parks of the Southwest. I was planning a trip to the Moab area of Utah. About 2 hours later I was leafing through it, and I realized it probably would have a picture of Great Basin that would include Wheeler Peak. Sure enough, the first photo was of the snow-covered mountain, from almost the same direction, but probably from about 10 or 15,000 feet lower down than we had been.

I admit I was maybe a little more proud of my "feat" than necessary, and I even bragged about it to my wife (who was naturally less impressed with me than I was)... Still, it was fun to see, and made me want to make sure to get out there this summer or fall.