OMG, I love getting flying updates from Amal Ajmi! Amal is based at Fairbanks, Alaska and is totally enjoying this summer’s warm weather Alaskan flying!

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My friend Ann and I spent the weekend flying and thought I would send a note and pictures.

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There are certain communities in Alaska that have annual events just too good to pass up; Lake Minchumina (MHM) has the annual Rock Skipping Contest. This year was the 37th! Pilots come from all over some years to participate, and yes you better believe it is a serious challenge. Some folks practice all year, gather their perfect rocks, and hone the exact angle of attack!!!

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My friend Ann and I have been flying together a bit over the years, me in my bird, she in her C-170B. It is always fun flying with Ann, and she is a great sport at powering down or circling so I am not left behind when we travel together.

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Ann has owned her pretty 170 for about 22 years and has been pert near everywhere with it in AK as well as in the lower 48. She is an accomplished pilot, but more so, she is very wise and smart about flying. I hope that some of that will rub off on me….

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Anyway, we decided to fly to MHM for the annual event. One of the most stunning views during the summer are the fields of fireweed scattered across the landscape. Stunning pink ponds surrounded by lush green vegetation, stark in contrast, breathtaking…..As you fly across the lower Tanana valley, low over the multitude of lakes (with the occasional swan pair and young, or the moose cow/calf pair) you feel deep in your guts the absolute “This is WHY I live here!”

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Lake Minchumina is about 123nm southwest of Fairbanks. If you leave early in the morning before the thermals start, you get a dreamy smooth ride all the way down. For the most part the landscape is flat, but when you get to the hills surrounding the lake, your breath is taken away by the vast water body…..so pretty. In the spring, open portions of the lake will hold dozens upon dozens of waterfowl, waiting for the rest of the world to warm up……We landed and hiked around up to the lodge and back to stretch our legs before the event. Irises were still in full bloom and the wild raspberries provided a sweet snack along the way.

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This years’ event was won by two locals and a young man from Fairbanks. I never make an effort at serious competition as the winners ALWAYS get thrown in the lake for good measure. This year it was so hot (high 80’s) I am sure it was pleasant. One competitor was thrown out of contention by a pike who decided the rock was a tidbit of food. Rules are rules, and you are only allowed 3 throws….maybe next year.

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As always, the food was amazing with pulled pork, chicken noodle salad and the “Oh my God” pie. We flew home late in the late afternoon, stuffed, happy, hot and tired….but what a DAY!!!!

Blue skies everyone,

Amal

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