The Natural Wonders of the South Western USA

by Anna Blanch on July 10, 2012

This is the third in a series of posts about flying from California to Michigan in an 1967 Orlando Green and Tampa Green Piper Commanche.


Even though we took off around 0830 on the morning of the fourth of July, the ground we covered in those first 4.5 hours was nothing short of incredible.

So here’s another lesson for the uninitiated (this is was me a week ago!):every airport has a code. either three or four letters or numbers.

For example, we took off from Apple Valley Airport, which has the code KAPV with a final destination of 77G (Marlette, Michigan). In between K set up waypoints, either VOR (like radio beacons) or airports to help him navigate our route. In between the waypoints, you use headings (measured in degrees) to help keep you on course.

Within those first four short hours we managed to fly over the Mojave Desert, the Painted Desert, the Grand Canyon, the Rio Grande, and the Rocky Mountains.


Mostly we flew at 11500 feet, though to get over the rocky mountains we did climb to 13500 feet for a while.

At these altitudes, I was able experience to magnitude of the landscape and the way it changed.

It felt appropriate to be experiencing the wonder and independence of flight on Independence Day – to be able to take in a bird’s eye view of such an expanse of states and landscapes.


Listening. Observing. Participating. Writing. Photographing. Reflecting.

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Traveller. Scholar. Photographer. Writer. Dreamer. Teacher. Anna Blanch is founder of Goannatree, and a PhD candidate in the Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at St Mary’s College, University of St Andrews, Scotland. The summer of 2012 is a nomadic summer for Anna as she edits her Phd and chases the sun after three cold years in Scotland!

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