Jessica Peters/ The Progress Photos from the top: Florence Nickel, in headset, prepares for her trip to see Mt. Cheam from the air; Pilot Arvid Isaak and Florence Nickel meet at Chilliwack airport and prepare for the adventure.

Chilliwack senior’s wish comes true above Cheam

Nickel, 88, flown to see peak of mountain by Abbotsford pilot

Florence Nickel has stood atop a Swiss Alp, gazed out over Paris from the Eiffel Tower, and rested her eyes upon the wondrous Uluru in Australia’s outback.

She’s travelled all over B.C., Canada, and the world, checking the marvels of the world off her list of adventures as the years went by. And she was always happy to return to her home on Hope River Road, with her glorious view of Mt. Cheam.

But as time went on, the desire to climb Mt. Cheam grew stronger. Her children had summited the mountain, just as many Chilliwack residents do each year. But Nickel never got the chance.

That is, she never got the chance to physically climb the hill. But recently, as the clouds parted and the smoke from the summer’s forest fires cleared, she was lifted up, up and away to get a close-up view of the mountain’s peak.

Abbotsford Flying Club (AFC) pilot Arvid Isaak took Nickel and her son, Lynn Nickel, on a flight made possible through the AFC and Allister Murphy, at Birchwood Retirement Residence where Nickel lives. It was part of the Moments that Matter program through Chartwell Residences.

Nickel, Isaak and crew took off from the Chilliwack Airport for an evening flight, buzzed over the city and headed up to make the “climb” to the peak.

They followed the airspace above the popular hiking trail, giving Nickel as close to the real experience as possible. The Abbotsford Flying Club put out the call earlier this year that they wanted to fulfill a dream for someone, and when they read Nickel’s letter about her wish, they knew she would be the one.

“We lived in our house on Hope River Road in Chilliwack for 46 years,” she wrote. “Every morning, when no clouds got in the way, I saw Mt. Cheam from the upstairs window. As many other people have done, our three sons walked to the top over the years. but I never made it.”

She lists all the places she’s been, from the guards at Buckingham Palace, palm trees in southern Ireland, and mist in Scotland.

Everywhere she’s travelled, she’s sought out the pinnacle of the experience. In Haida Gwaii, she met the White Spirit Raven. In Italy, she discovered the best ice cream in the world, and in Spain, she visited an underground church.

So it makes sense that while in Chilliwack, she should experience the view from this city’s most majestic mountaintop. And she approached the day of the plane trip with just as much wild abandon.

When Isaak asked who would be taking the front passenger seat of the four-seat Cessna, she made it clear she was in for an adventure.

“That’s my seat!” she laughed, as the group headed out onto the tarmac. Once all adjusted into the plane, headset on and flight plan explained, Nickel’s ear-to-ear smile lit up the runway.

Then, they lifted off and heading into the sunny, blue sky. For Isaak, a chance to give back to his community. And for Nickel, the chance of a lifetime.


@CHWKcommunity
jpeters@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Pilot Arvid Isaak and Florence Nickel meet at Chilliwack airport and prepare for adventure to the peak of Mt. Cheam. (Jessica Peters/ The Progress)

Just Posted

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

Blue bags are out for curbside recyling and blue bins are in

Use your own bin or the one the city gave you, but no more bags, please, except for shredding

Fraser Valley fire departments form ‘strike teams’ to combat wildfires

Boston Bar, Chilliwack River Valley and Popkum departments form strike teams to fight wildfires

RCMP nab prolific car thief in Agassiz after month-long search

A province-wide warrant was issued for Brian Robert Stephan in June for a litany of offences

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Most Read