Sunday, March 8, 2009
Bound by Sky, By Buddy B. Brain
Friday, March 6th. Its cold at five grand and I’m so bundled up I can hardly move. My fingers are like ice cycles and ache all the way to my elbows. It’s just barely March; not even spring. Mount Rainer looms large on the southern horizon. The expansive evergreen forests below are dusted in white. Spread around the icy blue sky are more than a dozen other paragliders in all directions, including above me. There are wings high over the southwest corner of Squak and a couple wings high above me, a couple to the southeast.
I’m not just cold, but feeling a bit claustrophobic from being bundled in my flight suit, layered beneath in more than just my winter down coat. I’m seriously thinking of shedding altitude so I can thaw out, but wonder if I’ll be able to move while bound like I am in my winterized isometric suit. Maybe this is why I prefer coastal flying; flying with ease of movement, free to make quick unrestricted changes in posturing.
Sure is pretty from up here tho, and I’m still going up. Sure is cold. And, I sure am feeling restricted. Should I head out and attempt my first XC of two-zero-zero-nine? ‘ Beep……beep…beep’ goes my vario. Cold and I have a date I can’t be late for. Lame excuse. ‘Beep...beep...beep...beep.’ FLIPPIN, FRIGGIN COLD! Big ears. ‘Beep…..beep…..beep’. I’m still going up. Bigger ears. ‘Beep…..’ Now my pop cycle fingers are being gnawed at by my outer A-lines. This hurts. Maybe it’s time to spiral. ‘Beep….beep…….beep’. Pump out ears and surprise, vario is silent. Lean hard left, lean hard right….back to left and hold. Round and round and round I go. Stop watching the forest below and keep my eyes on my wing. I level out at a grand above south launch.
What the hell I’ll try a top landing. The wind sock is barely moving from the west and with this cold dense air I doubt there’s any rotor. Setting up to approach from north and west of the sock I would normally have lots of room to touch down. Nope. The air is way too dense and even on ears I pass directly over launch with nary a semblance of descent, and I’m not about to b-line. Oh well. Damn, sure wish I hadn’t gotten cold and descended. What a whimp. I coulda been up and away. Oh, yeah, I’ve got a date and what the heck; I’ll be on time for once.
“So Bud, how’d the date go?”
“Excuse me? Oh yeah, the date. Well I tried to listen and engage but my mind kept wandering to my earlier flight. Really, I kept hearing her say, ‘beep…beep….beep.’ and I guess I just sorta blew it.”
By the way, in case you haven't figured it out B. is for "Bird"
Photo up top is courtesy of Stefan Mitrovich, but he is NOT the author.