Sunday, 21 May 2017

Flying Pine (Bend, Oregon)

We had an amazing introduction to flying Pine Mountain near Bend, Oregon. Thanks to Jeff Gray (who we met on our European paragliding tour) for taking us to his local site!

Honestly, the site doesn't look like much. From the parking lot, you walk 10 minutes up the hill and you're at launch. It's a bare hill with a few odd trees and some sage brush. We arrived late afternoon, once the rowdy conditions of mid day in the high desert had worn off.

We were some of the first ones there and as we hiked up the hill we could see a couple pilots a short distance away kiting up the hill, taking off, staying close to the hillside, landing, taking off, repeat. I figured there was no way I was going to stay in the air for long if they weren't and was a little nervous about trying to fly that close to the terrain. Turns out, they were doing that on purpose for practice.

As we got to the main launch, a couple more pilots took off before us and they were getting more height. It boosted my confidence.

I had a good launch, made one pass close to the hillside and then I was up, up and away! Beautiful, smooth, glass off conditions. More and more people arrived and, at peak, there were probably 20-30 wings in the air. While it didn't seem crowded, I definitely had my head on a swivel making sure I didn't get in anyone's way. At the same time, I was enjoying the view out across to the mountains in the distance and the changing light as evening progressed.

I'm not one for long flights and usually after 30-40 minutes I'm happy to head out to the landing zone. Which I tried to do this time and which usually isn't a problem. But the air was so thermic that it was difficult getting down! Even while doing big ears (a method of losing altitude) there were times that I was still going up. I did many 360s also trying to lose altitude. By the time I landed after 1:15 I was feeling a bit nauseous!

Jeff came down at 1:40 and Andrew at 2 hours. We all had fantastic flights! We will be back!

Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters

The trail to launch, and the launch area, are visible on the right side of the photo.

No comments:

Post a Comment