What a great day it was, and it started early. A low pressure system was bringing moisture up from the South and thunderstorms were forecast for later in the day. We had a great flight, my longest in duration (4.25 hours) and distance (300 statute miles) to date.
Here is the ship as we prepare to tow it to the flight line and you can see that the CUs are already well developed on the Sierras at 11:30 PDT.
We towed to the Kingsbury Grade of the Sierras and climbed to 11,000 MSL after release. Then we headed South to the area of Freel Peak and Job's Peaks where we experienced some near-terrain flying, a.k.a. "rock polishing".
We decided that the route to the South was already overdeveloping and chose to head North instead. Here, we are passing the Freel Peak (left wingtip) to Job's Sister saddle.
This is the South end of Lake Tahoe.
This tiny Alpine lake is named Star Lake and is about 5 miles South of the Heavenly Valley ski resort. It is only accessible by hiking in.
This is the same shot taken a few seconds later. The lighting conditions had changed and made for a different perspective. I couldn't decide which I liked better, so I posted them both.
Mt. Patterson was already obscured by rain, so we decided to go East to Mt. Grant instead. Looking East you can see that once past the gray cloud we were under, it had not yet overdeveloped.
This is looking to the South end of the Antelope Valley. You can see the Walker River entering the valley and meandering along the base of the Sierras to the West. The small towns of Coleville and Walker are also visible.
After turning Mt. Grant, we headed back to Minden. By now there were thunderstorms and lightning along the entire length of the Pinenuts. So we entered the Carson the Valley on the West. This is Heenan Lake. It is a brood stock lake for the endangered Lahontan Cutthroat trout. It is only open to fishing four or five weekends a year beginning in September. And even then, it is a catch and release lake only.
We passed through some pretty heavy rain as we entered the Carson Valley. Here we are entering the valley at about 7,700 MSL and the airport is still seven miles to the North. It is the lowest I had ever been over this area.
This is the Carson river as it enters the valley. The rain can be seen over the Pinenuts to the East.