Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Pines to Wandi

Interesting day today. The day starts out with a bunch of us driving up to Mystic to find the gate up - it's closed due to fire danger. This is the first closure this season that wasn't preceded by an email. I guess the decision to close it was made this morning. So the ride up the hill used up all my gas money.

Then a whole mountain of people drive up to the Pines. The Pines isn't a very big hill, but big enough to eat a lot of dust while standing in the back of a pickup on the way to the top. Watching a ton of people launch and bomb out makes it hard for me to get motivated.

Some of the rock stars were able to climb out, and when most people were off the hill, I heard someone say "I guess we have to get off this bloody hill one way or another..." and that realization makes me decide to launch.

So after getting all my gear on and waddling over to launch, the wind stops. The temperature inside my flight suit has been steadily climbing for the last ten minutes, and then the wind blows over the back. I waddle back under a tree and steam discharges when I take my helmet off. Waiting might have been a big mistake....

A puff comes in and people hurl themselves off in desperation, myself included. I go to where I saw the rock stars climb out, and it's my lucky day, I get a nice thermal and I climb out. I do some math in my head so as not to break airspace rules and I fight my instincts and force myself to leave the sweet core and go on glide towards Bright.

I weave my way through the obstacle course of ridges and small mountains, picking the best lines I can, and 3 hours later I am over clearspot trying to find a climb, and if I do get up, I am going to fly home to the Wandiligong valley. I find the climb, glide to Wandi and find nothing but up all over the place, so I go for one last climb, and I top out at 2638 meters. The view is great.

What a day! 53 k and I land at the front door.


At 2:02 AM, Anonymous Bill Hughes said...

Jan 13th is my birthday, so since it was snowing in Seattle, I transferred all of my birthday good luck to you so that you could have that sweet, sweet flight.



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