After a leisurely shower, a few rambling conversations with student pilots, a long breakfast with Peter and Rodger at Dusty's, I was finally forced to decide what I wanted to do for the day. Rodger decided to race home and take his daughter for a flight in an ultralight. I decided to drive further away from home to West Rutland so I could socialize with the paraglider pilots heading there. I told Peter and PK I was going for a "social sledder".
As expected a good crowd had gathered on launch. It was good catching up with everyone as we waited for someone to "dive off" and convince us we were wrong about the day. Dan was the first to launch and fought a slow, but losing, battle to the LZ below. The fact he maintained over the LZ for awhile was encouraging. Keith didn't want to wait and was the second to launch.
A few minutes later, Keith was climbing above launch from far below. Yahoo!
Launch was busy for the next half-hour as hang glider and paraglider pilots ran off into the air. Surprisingly, at least to me, everyone was staying up. My turn came and I ran off into a nice easy climb along, and then over, the ridge to the west.
I had a good time flying with everyone; weaving around, above, below, and between my fellow pilots. PK and I talked about going XC, but the uninspiring sky and a lack of drivers kept us local. (Remember, I was counting on a sledder.) Since we were not going anywhere far, I had to find something challenging to do. I decided to fly upwind into and beyond the upper bowl across the valley. (The bowl is beyond the peak behind and to the right of glider in the picture above.)
I followed John in his ATOS but stopped for a rowdy lee-side thermal before pushing on. The view of peaks to the south was refreshingly unfamiliar.
I played in the surprisingly rough air but still managed to snap a picture of the south facing cliff of the tallest peak and of the view across the valley towards launch before returning to the ridge.
Looking towards launch
I zoomed around the ridge with a "late" crew and made another trip across the valley to verify it was indeed still rowdy over there. ;-) PK and I flew awhile with Dan (on his second flight) and George before they headed to the LZ.
Dying thermals gave way to a pleasant wonder-wind which West Rutland is well known for. Finally there were only three of us in the air, soaking up what the lazy evening was offering.
All three of us left a still-soarable ridge and headed to the LZ satisfied, at least for the day.
I started breaking down while PK snagged a ride to launch with Bo to fetch his truck. I chatted with Amy, Dan, and George while I packed my glider and then started working on PK's when he didn't return. He was late getting back down since he helped several pilots launch into soarable air at 7PM! Hardly a day for a "social sledder".
Flights: 1, Duration: 3:40