Desert Flight Camp 2008 to L25
Cliff edge airstrip of the Grand Canyon south rim, Arizona
May 27-28, 2008
Click on any picture for larger view.
Months of "paranoid" preparations, three guys, two
airplanes, hundreds of pounds of equipment and supplies.
A desert airstrip (L25) on the western edge of the Grand Canyon south rim with a 2000' ft cliff off the runway.
An unforgettably way cool overnight desert flight camp trip.
This page documents the fourth in an annual series of desert flight camp trips by me (Scott Kurowski), Stephen Bouzan, Scott Schwartz, and on prior occasions Brad Bernard and David Bouzan.
May 7th camp reconnaissance mission three weeks
For the recon mission I flew N9488G, one of our planned camping airplanes, out to L25, and Stephen flew it back. The 2500' hard-packed dirt runway 29-20 was in excellent condition. Two dates were seen on the airfield: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1961, and September 1980 for the windsock.
desert military operations area airspaces (MOAs) at 11,500 ft
Approach to landing at L25 from the south
toward the cliff. Our first pass was low over runway and over the cliff to
get a good look at the runway surface. Our planned camp site was on the
cliff edge of the runway on the right end of the first image.
On the ground at the proposed camp site,
looking west, north, then east into the Colorado River valley 2000' ft below,
and back south again toward the parked airplane.
Survey marker labeled U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1961. Another marker was U.S. Dept of Interior. Looking down the runway, and the two pilots with N9488G.
May 27th camp flight to L25 over the California, Nevada, and Arizona desert
I flew N4975F with extra camp supplies and gear, and Stephen flew N9488G with Scott Schwartz and gear. A few scattered clouds as we departed San Diego's MYF airfield at 4:30pm, climbing to 4,500' at Lake Jennings, climbing over Cuyamaca mountain to 8,500' to the Julian (JLI) VOR, and then climbing to 11,500' over the Palm Springs TRSA, then down to 9,500' for the rest of the trip.
Landing at L25 and parking the airplanes (not
quite) at the cliff
L25 is at about 3000' elevation. We landed about an hour before sunset. A stiff crosswind required a 20 degree banked slip to bring the airplanes down straight until the short final approach. I landed 75F first, shut down and got out to photograph 88G's arrival. We carefully backed the airplanes off the runway a few dozen meters from the cliff and setup camp behind the airplanes a dozen paces from the edge.
We started cooking our whole roasted corn ears and mesquite-marinated beef tri-tips immediately as we setup tents and got the rest of our equipment out for the night. The hopped beer and dinner, finished with toasted marshmallows on kabob skewers, was delicious. The view from our chairs was amazing.
Scenery at the campsite
Incredibly beautiful reds, oranges, yellows, greens and even blue of the Colorado River and desert sky.
Night backlit tent & Big Dipper constellation
It was very comfortable until long after dark when it started getting chilly and we put on sweaters. We passed the hours telling jokes, stories and desert-inspired philosophy around the charcoal fire. When we turned the lamps down the sky was ablaze with stars and the plane of the galaxy spilled from north to south over the eastern half of the sky through familiar constellations.
Morning & breakfast
Up by 6 AM, we cooked a simple bacon, eggs and juice breakfast under perfectly clear skies.
Exploring the mesa & airfield before
May 28th enroute back to San Diego
We loaded up and departed at 10 am for Bullhead/Laughlin (IFP), a 30 minute hop south to refuel at the FBO, taking on about 27 gallons each. After departing Bullhead, we formed up briefly for a few air-to-air photos at 8,500' over the desert, with N9488G seen from the right window of 75F (L) and N4975F from 88G. The weather returning to MYF was beautiful and clear.
Map of route from MYF in San Diego, CA to
L25 in Arizona