Monday, August 06, 2018

Brace for Summer

I couldn't refuse another hazy, hot, and humid day in this summer of rain, so I chose to hike and fly at Brace Mountain.  Donna and Sergio were meeting early at the park-and-ride along the Mass Pike and I could have ridden with them, but decided to wait 30 minutes and meet Aine at the same place since she was making the trip alone.

Everyone was still at the LZ when we arrived including Don, Joe R, Leslie, Tom P, Zoe, and probably a couple more that I'm forgetting.  We played the "I don't want to drive but we can take my car" game before loading up and making the drive to the backside of the mountain.

As I mentioned before, it was hot and humid, so our pace up the mountain was slow.  Tom and I eventually found ourselves out front alone.  Somewhere along the hike, while commenting on the old guys leading the pack, Tom mentioned that he will have been flying hang gliders for 50 years next summer.  Probably longer than any other person!  (Tom started flying very young).  Needless to say, I was impressed and think that fact should be better known.

There was a light pleasant breeze trickling in when we arrive on top.  We had a leisurely lunch, unpacked, and generally tried to avoid the heat however possible.  Meanwhile, Josh and Shane made their way up for the afternoon festivities.

The forecast predicted increasing southerly winds (90 cross to the ridge) during the afternoon so we were a bit anxious to launch but didn't want to take sledders either.  Donna started the parade, followed quickly by Sergio and Joe.  Donna and Sergio got low but climbed back up while Joe slowly climbed over the ridge.  Tom beat me to launch, but I was in the air shortly after he left.

I sank below launch but found a slow climb to base.  Joe and Sergio were drifting over the back heading out for an XC flight, but given the sky, the forecast, and no retrieval plans I decided to stay put.

Inviting sky looking this direction...

Not so inspiring looking this direction.

Instead of drifting off downwind, I pushed upwind several times to connect with clouds across the valley.

Target in sight

The southerly breeze did develop as predicted and we were soon stuck soaring thermals shearing off the ridge line.

I played around for awhile and then decided to go land and leave the ever shrinking lift band to the others.

After fetching Aine's car, Aine, Josh and I had dinner at the Taconic Wayside Inn before heading home.

Flights: 1, Duration: 1:47

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