Wasatch Wilds

Beyond the Haze of Salt Lake City

I ducked under the 20-foot, canvas-covered wingspan of the 1957 Piper Tri-Pacer, pulled my legs into the small backseat, checked my seat belt and put on my headphones. Forrest Shearer slid into the front seat as pilot Marshall Haglund kicked over the engine. The bite of cold air hit my face as we taxied onto the runway. Marshall had been kind enough to remove the door to make visual recon easier, but that meant we all had to deal with the 100 mph wind chill on a frigid February day in Utah.

Flying is in Marshall’s blood. His grandmother was the first woman in Utah to get her private pilot’s license; his grandfather flew dive bombers in World War II and his dad flew power line patrol in a Piper Super Cub. After getting his private flying license before graduating high school, Marshall worked as a bush pilot in Alaska and now spends most of the year as a crop duster in Arizona. But today, he was doing a couple of friends a favor.

For Forrest and me, this flight was about exploring our home range. The mountains in Utah are experiencing more traffic these days, especially via the easy-access points of Little Cottonwood Canyon. Our goal was to see more of what the 8,000-square-mile Wasatch Range had to offer.

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