above the mountains


A few months ago, I spontaneously texted Dan with the question “Do you have any interest in a helicopter flight?” and promptly received the response “Uhhhh..perhaps, wait, Catie— whats going on? He’s a tad bit afraid of heights, and never really knows what my occasional vague and sporadic texts mean. But I figured I could work with that response, and within 24 hours we had booked a flight over the North Cascades.


I’m applying for a project that would really help to have some aerial mountain photography, so not only did this sound like a super cool opportunity, but a great way to build my portfolio. We booked the flight with Snow King Aviation for an evening at the end of March, and the whole week leading up, weather looked great. Not a cloud in the forecast. But the PNW often as different plans, and come 5pm on March 28th, a massive storm was forming right over the North Cascades. Our pilot seemed nervous, but had hope that it could clear enough for us to go out a few hours later instead. “Is that okay with you?” he asked. Little did he know that I was freaking out inside. Sunset shoots are my jam. I squealed yes, and for the next hour or so, we watched the storm move, crossing our fingers it would allow us to fly out safely. (Spoiler: it did, and the following hour was one of the coolest of my life.) Our pilot was fantastic, and knew exactly how to navigate through the storm without hitting much turbulence. The combination of colors was like nothing I’d ever seen before, and seeing some of my favorite mountains from above was truly mind blowing. Eight weeks later and my jaw is still sore from smiling.


Moral of the story: combine, a sunset, a storm, and the flight over the North Cascades, and you have one of the most surreal ways of seeing the Pacific Northwest.