BABY'S FIRST FLOATPLANE
PACK CREEK, Alaska: Our Cessna 206 skims into an Admiralty Island cove. The pilot wades in his Xtra Tuffs the ubiquitous brown rubber boots of Alaska yanking the Amphib's tail until it grounds about 15 feet from the cobblestone shore.
Don't you dare carry me, I grouch. I used to be wilderness guide and I haven't degraded into a complete cream puff. I crunch barefoot across the barnacles. Scratches tendril pink into the clear water: smoke signals from my childhood on a Pacific Northwest beach.
But I'm elated giddy like a freshly licensed 16-year-old with Mom's Miata. For eight years, I've dreamt of floatplanes, ever since one nearly parted my hair, as I cowered, a novice kayaker on Lake Union in Seattle. The props' drone, the rooster plumes of spray, the bootleggers' turn on the water: these machines embody both grace and grit.
"You have a crush on a plane," my friend Edward notes. "You, the woman without a car."
"Yes," I admit. "But unlike my taste in men, I picked a good one, at least."