Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Baldy to Wenatchee Direct

Two Pitchers of Beer $16.00
1 Rack of Babyback ribs $15.95
1 Order Hot wings $6.75
2 Dessert Shooters $3.50

Eating and drinking them all alone while awaiting retrieve in Wenatchee PRICELESS.

They say if you keep flying, giving luck opportunity, eventually it comes together. Sunday was not that day but Monday was. - Sunday I sank out in lea side trash. But Monday was a different story:

A crew of the usual suspects met at the rock at 11:30. I didn't call the gathering but am always willing try, so thanks for making the call ya all. I didn't want to go first, in fact I was actually thinking about driving down with the prospects of inversion - high pressure - and spunky air battles before us. But once others saddled up the auto response system kicked in and I was off.

Anticipated bad air did its thing grounding 2 of 4 within 20 minutes. I was one of the lucky ones and after a heated battle with mega sink and minor-mega bullet lift we got over the towers for a smooth cranking ride to 6,800 or so. -

I left second, pimped and avoided a sink hole by doing so, and arrived at exit 11 with plenty and caught a nice screamer to clouds base over badger pocket. Clouds marked the tit so lift was easy to find at Boylston to 8,200 or so.

Now where? The wind turbines were all facing east and it seemed that the east wind was building a bit so a push to George seemed out of the cards. Due north a cloud street was forming over the plateau East of Mission Ridge. This street became the devils tail that I was to tickle for the next hour. It beckoned me to come hither with growing strength with each passing moment.
Before it became an issue however an amazing climb/gift was granted sw of the windmills at the heavy equipment training school. Over 5,000 feet up in one climb to 8,400 or so, which started as I was picking a smooth LZ.

Now it was off to the hills - you can play with it for a while but at one point about 5 miles in it became a go/no-go call and there was only one cloud left to "promise" lift in the dreaded tiger country.
I have been dreaming of this flight ever since Gordon Grice made the line for the first time a year and 4 months ago. Dreaming and doing are separated by opportunity and execution. It is the execution that is the act of will that is really hard at times like that.
To go and accept the consequences - Glory or Folly - potential folly met with a long hike as consequence becomes a challenge to overcome.

OK stop dreaming and GO! and off I went - Things worked fine in that last lift under the cloud and the SE winds were helping but sooner than later I was looking at tree tops and nice big REMOTE LZs
- ok - set up for landing - take your lumps. - then a gopher fart. - turn - nothing - turn and a blip. - no down just a touch - 350ft over set up to land - where to land? - a touch of lift and for 10 minutes or so - up a little - further down wind - up a little - more commitment to worse than ratty LZs, but up a little and then - REAL lift and a ridge I can make and AND AND - houses and roads!!!! - then ridges and lift and finally over a lovely ridge on the south of town which kept me flying for 10 minutes or so so I could get my coveted 4 hour flight along with the prize of Wenatchee Direct!
Stats: Distance 45 miles or so, Duration 4hr 5 min. Max up 2,350 ft/min. Max down 2,500 ft/m - Max Alt: 8,700ft
Sorry - No Pictures - It was 4 hours of nonstop work from launch to landing. Check out the track on Leonardo: www.paraglidingforum.com/leonardo/flight/263105

1 comment:

Dave Byrne said...

Nice flight there, Shepherd, but two desert shooters???
That's enough to make you see double burning bushes!

Congrats, maybe I can follow you next time.


PS your cousin Andy says hello and loves your blog.