Friday, January 16, 2009

Valle - Day 4 All Alone at the Lake

Today is a challenge to report. Not because the adventure was stale or bad things happened but because the author won. – It just seems strange to write about ones own good fortune, but thus was the story of the day.

A combination of factors led to decisions as follows: It rained very, very hard last night. Wet ground = late lift so we texted our driver to push back an hour. – Best guess is that the driver, a very experienced local pilot didn’t get the message so he showed up on schedule at 9:00. The problem was we figured he got the message and would show at 10:00. Well, he waited for us to come out and load up at 9:00, we didn’t and the connection was lost. –
North East winds and heavy skies had already made many wonder if flying would happen at all and conversation shifted toward a ground excursion to the butterflies.
The capper was that the driver “didn’t show at 10:00” so it seemed that the local expert pilot was confirming the decision to go for a big hike and see the touted insects.
Being an extremely slow hiker and a totally addicted pilot I determined that after hiking 2 hrs. I would meet the crew on their way down from the butterflies and there was no logic in me going on the vaunted hike.
I returned with intentions of grabbing my kit and heading out solo but on thinking about the effort to go alone I decided to explore the city.
Just as I left our compound I saw Doug coming from the cab stand with the report that he had tossed the hike and had a connection to launch so the day was on for an attempt at flight with my renowned instructor.
On launch we found no one flying and many unsure if the day would work at all but the worried winds were wondrously wistful. Flow started and the wind dummies began to soar.
I took a number of launch videos of Rob’s crew and slowly readied for launch. Cycles were just fine and the lift off launch was smooth and solid. – One continuous climb put me near 9,000 feet over launch as Doug called for OTB (over the back) on topping the climb.
I was 150 under him and figured an extra turn in feathery lift would be good and as I came around I got an even stronger (beep beep) while I watching Doug head out and DOWN!. – The line he took just slammed him and I continued to climb. After 3 more turns Doug was coming back to climb again and I was topping out at just over 10K.
Having watched his line succumb to dreaded sink I took a line more to the left and down a ridge.
The decision to wait and climb, watch and adjust, work with amazing benefits. My glide to Sacramatati was full of 00’s and -100, I got to West point of the hill with 8K or better. The hill looked good so I went right but that was sink so I back tracked to the West, up hill and closer to the ground but was rewarded with wonderful rising air that took me to the convergence.
Once in the clouds it was sweet. I set course for the north and rode the line out of the clouds. After going back for a second pass, and out again it seemed the lake was even closer. I called to Doug that I had lake on glide and tucked it in for some video work on final glide.
I was 1500 or better over the lake and threw down as best I could with a cranked spiral and a couple of marginal wingover before landing a cool line over the city. One of the hidden sweetness’s of the day was that the butterfly crew witnessed my approach on their way back into town and came with high fives to the lake LZ. I was one of 8 to make it to the LZ today and the only one without a pod.
The moral of the day was “Only those on launch get a chance to fly!”
New use for Stuff Sack / Rain Coat

Out For Dinner
P.S. The day ended with dancing down stairs -
- This morning is a mixed bag - Great Skys, Great Food but the bummer that most of the crew is driving to Mexico City this evening. - Tim, CJ, Roger, Darline & Derek thank you all for a great time. Till we fly together again. The Aerial Crew is alwasy great but this selection was particularly special.
Big Air Today

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