Rough Landing at Cabin Creek
By Suz and Iven Iventosch
“We’ll be back for lunch,” my husband, Iven, said as he and our two sons headed out for a morning of flying and fly fishing at Cabin Creek, a U.S. Forest Service dirt airstrip in the Frank Church–River of No Return Wilderness.
That meant he’d be back by 1 or 2 p.m., since we have a slightly European dining schedule. My parents were visiting us from Arizona and we had a full morning of conversation, cooking, and chores to get done before lunch. We all went about our day. As it neared lunchtime, I began to pull a salad together and thought I should be hearing from Iven soon. He always calls me when he lands back in McCall to let me know he’s safe and sound, and what time he’ll begin the forty-five-minute drive to our cabin. He’s always true to his word and is never late, so when one o’clock passed, I began to get a little nervous. I tried to keep cool around my parents to avoid worrying them but my stomach was churning at dreadful thoughts of what could go wrong in a single-engine Cessna in the craggy mountains of Idaho’s backcountry. Also, I’d been to Cabin Creek before with my husband and sons and almost jumped from the plane when I heard them say, “This is the point of no return,” as they “turned final” toward the dirt landing strip.
By 1:30, it dawned on me that I didn’t even know the tail number on our plane, so I called Iven’s backcountry flight instructor to get the number (with no idea what I was going to do once I got it) and to tell her I had a strange feeling something had gone wrong. At 2 p.m., I called her back and said something terrible must have happened, since he was never, ever late. I felt certain we’d lost all three of them.