Note: Paperback includes map, Kindle digital version does not, suggest getting map below.
The floatplane arrived at the remote lake, where two hunters had each bagged a big moose. The pilot looked at the big moose racks, the bags of heavy meat, and all the hunters’ gear.
“I’ll have to make two trips for all this stuff,” the pilot said to the men, “It’ll be double what I brought you in for. You didn’t tell me that you got two moose.”
“Two trips?” the hunters asked, annoyed. “We had two moose in here last year at the same lake, five years ago, and Pete just made one trip. He had the same plane like you got.”
“Who’s Pete?” asked the pilot, “I didn’t know any Peter flying around here…”
“Ah…. he retired,” said one of the hunters, “but he got two moose in his plane and all our gear…”
“O.K,” said the pilot doubtfully, “we’ll give it a try…”
The men brought all their gear down to the beach and the pilot managed to stuff it all in. Twice he had to move the plane out into deeper water so the floats wouldn’t get stuck on the bottom. When everything was aboard, he pushed the plane gingerly out into the lake and stepped aboard. He looked a bit anxiously down at the floats; they were almost underwater.
“You’re sure Pete had this big a load,” said the pilot, shaking his head as he looked down at the floats again.
“Yep, same plane, same load.” said both hunters, “Plus Peter, he was a big, heavy, guy: 260, 270 easy…”
Only slightly reassured, the pilot settled into his seat, did his preflight checklist, started up, and taxied around for a bit in the irregularly shaped lake to find the longest takeoff line, and gave the engine full throttle. The heavily laden plane moved slowly at first, finally got up on step about halfway across the lake, but accelerated only very slowly. Finally it staggered into the air as it ran out of water, but failed to fully clear the trees. It crashed into the upper branches, which slowed, and finally lowered the plane, minus its wings, to the ground.
After a long silence while the men made sure there was no fire or broken bones, one of the hunters spoke up.
“Yep,” he said finally, “this is about as far as Pete got too..”