First time in the Beast for two months. Was surfing in Mexico, on deadline, had little time this winter till now. I swear, when the hangar door groans up on the winch and the early sun pours onto the jaunty old Cessna, she smiles. Pull the car in under her left wing and plug a little compressor into the cig lighter and fill up her tires. Buddy Jason does a walk around, we push her out, climb in. Prime the motor, push the starter. Somehow, for me, a Continental engine starting up in a small plane is emotional. Beast shakes and roars, oil pressure needle swings and pegs. We taxi out. A lid of clouds, gray veils of snow or rain on the mountains. Of course Jason wants to go there.
Up into the first peaks, threading through storm, across the Poudre Canyon, over Estes Park, flying so close over the ridges you could see elk tracks in the snow had there been any. Glorious. The elk are smarter than us, I guess–they are down in the deeply cradled valleys where spring is coming early.