Our annual fishing get-together in Montana is traditionally on the first Fall weekend with snow, so I was afraid when we moved it to late August. Would it really snow that early? But I confidently reserved the Archer and did some flight planning. Flight planning for this trip is silly, not because I have done it many times but because the high terrain means that there is really only one route: I-15 to US Highway 20 to US Highway 287.
Even sillier was the the AOPA Internet Flight Planner, which proposed a 2001 NM odyssey that went well into British Columbia.
Not so silly was the long term forecast. The same high terrain that makes the flight planning easy rules out any kind of IFR flight in something like an Archer. Ennis, where I was headed, has no instrument approach, and the MEA on the airway overhead is 15,000' MSL, clearly out of reach. Dillon might be an acceptable choice; the MEA there is "only" 12,000, which is within reach but leaves you no options.
So I drove. Call me chicken, but I had to had to had to be back at school on Monday, and the probability of a successful VFR flight was way too low.
Sunday saw lots of thunderstorms with hail and high winds. There was a short window when I could have made it from Dillon but that would have been at a price; the headwind was so strong that my car's gas mileage was decreased by about 10%. To the east I could see the Madison Valley, where Ennis is: the valley was blocked by thunderstorms all evening. I would have been stuck.
My reward? I caught more fish than anyone else.