Sometimes it is fun to do things the hard way.
[This flight took place on October 4, 2009.]
Although I've visited Brace Mountain, located near the corners of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, I've never flow there. Its not because of the flying or the long drive; its the 2 mile (3 km) hike into (and up to) launch. I was waiting for a cool day with enough wind to ridge soar and that day just happened to align with a migration of other lemmings towards the mountain. (JJ, Jeff C, John B, and PK were some of the other New England HG pilots that volunteered for torture).
Brace Club's LZ to the back side of the mountain. Kermit also carried my harness to the steep climb which was a big help. Thanks Kermit! Although not a joy, the hike wasn't killer either. The first part of the trail is level, followed by some sections that have water running in it, and then a rocky ascent past the last stream crossing. The brisk autumn air keep us cool and the usual thoughts of endless airtime kept us motivated.
I setup, inhaled a sandwich, gulped some water, suited up, and wiggled my way to launch. The few pilots that launched earlier found a climb to the north under a mature line of clouds. I waited for all the streamers to blow straight in, charged off the hill, managing to dive and get in an extra step to build up as much energy as possible. I had several people tell me later I had the best launch (that they saw) of the day. You can see from this video someone else took, that many of the launches were marginal. Notice the "nose pop" on the first launch and the launch around 4:40 minutes into the video.
I quickly got above launch in mainly ridge lift but realized the wind was very cross. Also the pilots that were once near cloud base were now coming in below me. I cruised along the ridge barely maintaining and looking for a climb. Each little thermal I found was shredded as it dragged along the ridge instead of over it. The pilots falling off the ridge were not doing any better so I stayed on the ridge and tried to hang on. I managed to hang on while everyone else landed but was little consolation as I too sank out and headed for the LZ.
The LZ is a large hayfield with a set of little "stair step" hills on the south end. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to do some "nap of the earth" flying on final. I dove for speed and flew the contour of the field a few feet off the ground. It was the best part of the flight.
Of course after landing and protesting the injustice of being flushed with fellow victims we noticed people were launching again and staying up. The winds had dropped and a sweet wonder-wind had set up. Although they were not getting high, they didn't seem to have much trouble staying aloft. Sigh.
I grabbed a couple landings on video. I apologize for the video quality.
People kept soaring until the sun was setting. I snapped a few shots of the last pilots landing before huddling around the fire. After a quick trip into town for dinner and some stories around the fire I slipped into my tent and started dreaming about how I was going to soar all day next time!
Flights: 1, Time: 28 minutes, Distance: - , Hiking: 2 miles