Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Shaken, not stirred

Saying goodbye with a foamy toast.
“The only way I’d drink beer up here is if it were dropped from an airplane,” I told friends last Friday as we settled in for the night at Devil’s Pass cabin on the Kenai Peninsula.
The first drop.
(This and top photo by Joe T.)

The line got a laugh from people who had spent the afternoon hiking and mountain biking about 10 miles up to the pass, but no one took it seriously until a couple of hours later, when a small plane passed high overhead, then banked and turned up the valley as it lost altitude. “Does anybody want a cold beer?” I asked.

The only thing better than a bike trip in the backcountry is a backcountry bike trip with an airdrop of food and beer. My friend Stacy had arranged this one with a friend of hers who has a plane and welcomes excuses to fly it. I had provided info on how to find the cabin, but was sworn to secrecy until the plane arrived and Stacy began chucking bundles of foam and duct tape out an open door.

The natives are thirsty. (Photo by Stacy S.)
They made drops on three passes, nailing perfect shots that made it easy to retrieve the bundles – two six-packs of cold beer, and a box of sandwiches and cookies.

“Oh my god, this is awesome,” Emilie said as we laughed and cut open the bundles. “Only in Alaska would you see something like this.”

I suppose it could be done anywhere, but she had a point. Alaska is full of private planes owned by the kind of people who think it's a cool idea to fly into the mountains and chuck beer at thirsty mountain bikers.

That's part of what makes this place great.


lemmiwinks said...

That is really cool! The only thing that would have made it better is if they'd had little parachutes on them.

Tim said...

Parachutes were discussed but rejected because nobody wanted to risk snagging one on the horizontal stabilizers. Watching a slow parachute drop would have been cool, but considering that only one beer can sprung a leak, I'd say the drop crew did a damn fine job.