Monday, 23 October 2017

3 Days in the Owens Valley

Enroute home from the Mexico part of our trip, we wanted to get in a few more days of paragliding before having to pack our gliders away until we can get somewhere warm again in the new year. The Owens Valley seemed the obvious choice. While it's notorious for strong spring and summer thermals, it mellows out in the fall. 

Between cloud cover and smoke from the fires on the west side of the Sierras, it made for dramatic views of the sky but not dramatic flying. Most of us got at least a couple 20-30 minute flights and Andrew got one cross country flight of just over an hour.  We flew at the Paiute and Flynn sites. Thermals were not the best (small with sharp edges) but I must be getting somewhat more comfortable in the air as I didn't find them too bad and stuck with it for longer than I normally do. 

Regardless of conditions, we got some instruction from Kari Castle (multiple-time world and national champion in both hang gliding and paragliding as well as numerous other records) and we were with a fun group of people! 

David was our fearless driver. The photo doesn't do it justice but serious skill is needed to navigate
 the rocky, twisty, steep road up to (and down from) the Paiute launch. 
Checking out the conditions on launch. 

John, who we met on the SIV course a few weeks ago, was able to join us for the few days.
It was great to see him again.
Nice torpedo position on launch, Russ!
Kari and Cookie in the air.
A pilot from another group -- but I liked the photo!
Andrew in the air. Paiute LZ is lighter coloured area in bottom right of photo.
Andrew . . . and my wing tip.
I want to be like Cookie when I grow up. She's 74 years young!  :-) 

I always enjoy watching more advanced pilots. 
This tandem pilot was doing wingovers on approach to landing at Paiute. 
Note: Pilot was Dave Turner of "North of Known" fame.
Hanging out in the Flynn's LZ, waiting for the last pilot to land.
Kari has several large rocks in her yard and wanted this one
but we all decided it was just too big and heavy! 
Andrew practicing the art of kiting upside down
in order to get dirt and sand out of the wings before packing them up for the trip home. 
Beautiful evening light from Flynn's LZ.

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