Why would you use a helicopter to go hiking?
It’s a good question, considering how much excellent hiking can be found in places like the Appalachian Mountains, the Rockies, the Sierras, the Alps, the Andes and other areas where cars, planes and trains provide easy access to the high country.
For me, after spending the better part of four decades as part of the mountaineering culture, a culture where helicopters and bush planes are commonly used to access some of the world’s ultimate climbing destinations, the concept of using a helicopter to access the world’s ultimate hiking destination makes perfect sense.
I’ve used helicopters to access world-class adventure travel destinations in the Alaska Range, the Canadian Rockies, the New Zealand Alps and the Himalaya. The reason is simple: the helicopter gets you out there to places where few other people ever go, to places where you feel like you're visiting a different planet.
This photo, taken during a CMH Summer Adventure in the Columbia Mountains of Western Canada, shows the kind of world the helicopter allows you to experience:
It is nothing like hiking in the automobile-accessible areas of the Rockies, the the Alps or the Andes.
It is a world where there are no trails that were not first formed by hooves and paws.
It is a world where you and your friends can be the only human beings for as far as the eye can see in every direction.
The CMH Summer Adventure differs in one significant way from the other aircraft-accessed mountain adventures I've experienced. In the typical mountaineering use of helicopters and planes, we use the aircraft for a relatively long flight to a destination at the base of the mountain we want to climb, and then the aircraft leaves us for days or even weeks. With CMH, the lodge locations, smack in the middle of the wilderness, makes the helicopter a reasonable tool for daily access.
The helicopter flights during a CMH Summer Adventure range from less than 5 minutes, to about 15 minutes. The combination of the short helicopter flights in and out of the high country and the wilderness lodge in the heart of the mountains, is the key to the unique and unforgettable CMH experience.
The helicopter allows you to spend the day in this alpine wonderland, and then take a short flight to the comforts of an isolated luxury lodge for an evening of fantastic dining, a massage, a spa, and a glass of wine on a deck overlooking some of the most pristine wilderness in North America.
So why use a helicopter? Think of it as affordable space travel in your own backyard.