I must say, Mark & I really know how to pick the hobbies.  I say that with both positive and negative connotation.  Positive because we get to do some really rad stuff, negative because our chosen hobbies are expensive and can drain a bank account fast if we’re not careful.  Case in point, aviation.  Three years ago Mark got his private pilot’s license and having grown up with a pilot for a dad and an airplane in our family, I could not have been more stoked that thanks to Mark, aviation would remain a part of my life.  Fast forward three years and it’s proven to be tricky to find the time and money to make aviation a solid fixture in our lifestyle.  The reasons are numerous and since this is not an aviation blog I will spare you the details and skip ahead to the fun part.  Last week we rented a Piper Archer from Eagle airport and took a scenic flight to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and back.  What a spectacular two hours of my life.   I grew up traveling in my dad’s Bonanza but had never before experienced a flight quite like this one.  Flying in the mountains is unlike flying anywhere else.  For me, it’s part terrifying, part exhilarating and all around an epic experience.  For the last week I’ve been racking my brain trying to figure out how we can own an airplane without going broke.  If my dreams are any indication of what the future may hold, one of these days I’ll be a professional aerial photographer but for now I’m just a professional photographer with an aerial addiction.  Here are some of the scenes I captured last week from the air…

Below right: Gunnison River and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison

colorado scenic aerial

Below: Bare aspen trees ready to embrace winter.
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below: Mt. Sopris hiding in the clouds (we will do this flight again on a clear day just so we can see the mountains in all their glory)
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below: Highway 133 and the Crystal River Valley.
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below: Highway 133 just North of the summit of McClure Pass.
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below right: A turkey vulture (we’re guessing) soaring at the end of the runway in Paonia.
colorado scenic aerial

Below: Paonia, Colorado.

colorado scenic aerial

Below: Coming in for our landing at North Fork Valley Airport in Paonia.
colorado scenic aerial

Below: Several photos of the spectacular Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below: I love being in the air and finding roads that I want to seek out.  We will definitely be finding the one below in the near future.
colorado scenic aerial

Below: Near Crawford, Colorado looking North.
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below: The aspen groves seem to go on for days.  I would LOVE to do this flight again at the beginning of October.  Imagine the below photo but in varying shades of yellow, I drool just thinking about it.
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below left: Marble, Colorado.  Below right: I-70 at Glenwood Canyon.
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below left: The Roaring Fork Valley between Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.
colorado scenic aerial
colorado scenic aerial

Below: One last shot above Glenwood Canyon before coming in for our landing at Eagle.
colorado scenic aerial

Thanks to Loren at Alpine Flight Training for the rental and instruction.  We look forward to doing it again!