What do you get when you combine clear skies, cool morning temperatures and a stomach full of nerves? These three components were all present for my first time flying in a four-seat prop plane. This morning, one of my co-workers and I took an early morning “dawn patrol” flight over the Yampa Valley with a friend of ours from the Wild West Air Fest committee. The Wild West Air Fest is a part of Steamboat Springs’ Labor Day Celebration up at the Steamboat Springs Airport.

Joe took us up on a half-hour joyride that gave me new respect for the beauty and the magnitude of this extraordinary valley. We flew just next to Sleeping Giant, then west over Milner. Heading south with were flying high above the valley with views of Stagecoach Reservoir, Lake Catamount, the Steamboat Ski area, downtown Steamboat Springs and the Yampa River. The hills were green, the early morning sun was reflecting in all water below and there was barely a cloud in the sky.

What a way to start a day!