What do you get when you ask pilots to get together for an epic adventure?
Denis messaged me via Instagram a few weeks ago asking me to come down to Vancouver for a helicopter flight. Explaining to him that it wasn’t really in the cards, he encouraged me and told me he’d organize something for us, along with PilotLuana and her husband Fred. Somewhat in disbelief, I coordinated with him for a day in January and left it at that. Through the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and a busy month of flying in January, those weeks went by very quickly. Next thing I know, we are flying to Vancouver from Calgary, grabbing our car rental, driving up to Squamish and meet up with Ranya, Denis’ assistant, as well as his girlfriend, Anne Catherine, who graciously hosted us for the evening.
The next morning,
Simon and I woke up to an absolutely unreal sight. When we arrived the night prior in Vancouver and drove up along the Sea to Sky highway, the sun had already set. All the beauty was hidden in the darkness. Squamish, BC, is just over an hour north of Vancouver and sits right in a valley, surrounded by mountains. I had to pinch myself a little that we had found ourselves there, after communicating with Denis for only a few short weeks.
We drove to Whistler, BC, to meet up with Luana & Fred at Blackcomb Snowmobiles for a little excitement prior to heading off on our helicopter ride.
As if that wasn’t already exciting enough, after our awesome time through the back bowls of Whistler with our guide, Jeff, we drove back to the Squamish airport to meet up with the crew from MSA Adventures and No Limits Helicopter.
Time for helicopters…
After some coordinating with the different helicopter crews, we made a plan of attack as to where we were planning to fly to, as well as what formation we’d take on to get there. Marco, Eric & York all worked together to ensure that not only we’d be safe, but that we’d also have a blast getting to our secret locations. Luana, being a helicopter pilot herself, flew some of the portion for us to get to our destination. First off was the fumerole; a 25,000 year old volcanic hole in the ground, letting off constant steam and the smell of sulfur. After some precise execution, we shut down, strapped some snowshoes and headed out to go explore.
It was such a cool, and different experience! I felt somewhat ignorant as I did not realize Canada had volcanoes!!
After the fumerole, we departed again and flew around to find an ice cave. It is absolutely crazy how these caverns even form. Pure, solid, crystal clear ice.
How beautiful is that cave?! After spending some time exploring and shooting videos, we headed back for our last leg in the helicopter. You could feel that all of us were getting exhausted as we were getting quieter by the minute…But it was still a perfect time to take in the sights, and witness the sun setting behind the mountains.
Simon and I had booked our return flight to Calgary for that evening. So after landing back at Squamish airport, we thanked our adventure teammates for the day, parted ways with Fred & Luana, and drove back towards Vancouver to drop our rental off. Driving back along the Sea to Sky highway, we felt the excitement and rush of having to fly once again to make it home. With minutes to spare, we fueled the car back up, dropped it off, settle our bill, took the shuttle back to the airport, and ran through security to get to our gate. Unfortunately, we missed our flight by a solid 2 minutes!!! Ahhh, the challenges of flying standby and pushing the limits of travel!! Thankfully, I was able to get us onto the next flight, so Simon and I enjoyed a meal and relaxed before our 2145 flight home. We got back to our bed around 2AM, with absolutely no regrets and knew if we were asked to, we’d do it all over again in a heartbeat!!!
How good is life?!