Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Change in the Wind

This past weekend we got slammed up here in Summit Park. I guess a little taste of what mother nature has in store. The snow was gone by 2pm, but it's remained unseasonably cool. However, Clay and I got up early this morning and ticked off a few routes in little Cottonwood Canyon.

A look out the the back of our house

Clay leading up some fine climbs in Little this morning

Friday, September 21, 2007

Last Flying Day of the Summer

Here are a few pics from flying at Inspo on Friday.

With the fall colors close to reaching their peak and the crystal clear air, the day was brilliant.

Cody had been in Park City for a conference this morning with plans to fly in the afternoon. Greg and I were eager to join him for an end of summer flight at Inspo. The conditions were supposed to be strong and pre-frontal, but the wind was light when we arrived at launch. A few bags were out in front staying up in the light lift, giving us hope. We watched as one bag thermaled out of sight in the cloudless pristine air. We were getting a late start, and on top of that Cody was 45 minutes behind, so he opted to forgo flying and drive for Greg and me.

I followed a bag off of the hill and into a nice cycle. The para found better lift out front as I was barely maintaining to the north of launch. I managed a few hundred feet over launch before the thermal fell apart. I ended up snagging a good core out front over the gazebo. I followed the light lift and drifted slowly back over launch and ended up at 11,500 ft above Cascade. In an attempt to capture a few shots of the fall colors, I flew south to the end of Cascade and over Rock Canyon where there was a high concentration of colorful trees. The air was a bit textured, but I managed a pic or two, then climbed out in a raspy little core to 12,500 ft. Greg launched, but in the waning afternoon light found absolutely nothing. It was his shortest flight of the season. He ended up landing in the bailout LZ.

I thermaled on Timp for a while, and with a glassy ride out over the valley the day turned out to be a 10+. I ended up landing in the big green LZ with an additional 2 hrs to log for the season.

The city of Provo

Looking south and over Rock Canyon.

Last week after flying Inspo, I asked Jeff why he didn't get on Timp after thermaling high over Baldy (a smaller mountain in front of Timp). He answered, " the closer I got to Timp, it was as though she was breathing on me - heavily". Today I noticed the same thing, but it felt more like she was exhaling violently. Must have been some sort of mixing layer. Regardless, after a few turns over the spine I felt unwelcome and flew west towards Baldy.

The gang ended up at the Spin Cafe in Heber for some good food and relaxation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Lessons In Collision Avoidance

Yesterday part of the gang flew Inspo. When we arrived the wind was a bit stiff, and as a result a van load of bag pilots were calling it quits (and wishing they had hang gliders). Val, Jeff, Greg and I set up and within the hour I was launched. I was surprised to find myself scratching to stay up. I was soon over the sub-station near the bail out LZ, barely maintaining 400 ft above the ground. I was able to stay in the lift and climb high enough to fly near the the big green LZ. There I worked some light lift, but was soon making turns setting up my approach to land. The rest of the gang had better flights, but reported nasty conditions. Later Greg was heard on multiple occasions making "there I was" comments. Not too long after I landed, Greg and Val appeared high over the LZ. By that time the big green LZ was transformed into a soccer circus, with a few hundred kids playing and oblivious that soon they would be under attack from the air. With the LZ 75% obscured with kids, Greg and Val pulled of respectable landings and managed to avoid hitting anyone. After a two hour+ flight, Jeff showed us all how to thread the needle. Jeff landed well even though the number of soccer players multiplied.

Some of the kids were shocked as the gliders seemed to appear from nowhere. Greg on final.

A few shots of Jeff weaving through the maze

A couple of future pilots

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Space Between

I don't know if Dave Mathews meant for his song to be interpreted this way, but I'll take the liberty to believe right now I'm in the space between. The last week has been filled with far more work than play. Today I was working on a decaf at Starbucks when Greg called. He offered to drive down to the Northside of the Point where we could possibly cash in on a bit of much needed airtime. After several rounds of calling back and forth, we decided it was too late to make the drive down south. So I guess it's just more work until the end of the week.

A few Valle De Bravo pics from our winter trip to Mexico.

An amazing residence with some killer ironwork

One of my favorite memories of Valle. After a short hike one evening, I was rewarded with a great overlook of the town.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Catching up

Julie's Birthday at Maza

This summer there's been so much blogging about flying adventures, I've neglected a few important moments. Julie, my wife, celebrated her 39th birthday September 4th. I took her to Maza, one of her favorite middle eastern restaurants where we enjoyed the evening with friends.

A pic of the studio

One of my long time music friends came out last month for a week. We spent most of the week writing songs and just having some good times.

Finally the 110 ft driveway is complete, as well as most of the rough landscaping at the house. (Proof that I do work)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Inspiration Point 9.8.07

Jeff and Greg at launch

Saturday started with welding my broken truck rack. I used the truck for staging a zip line that served to load 45 lb. retaining wall blocks down into the side yard of our house. After 275 blocks, a weld on the rear rack failed.

Later in the morning Greg and I conversed over the phone about flying, and by early afternoon Jeff, Greg and I were setting up at Inspo. I was surrprised at strengh and consistency of the lift. With smoke in the valley as a result of few Idaho fires and light winds, it just didn't seem like it was going to be a great day. We watched a few bags launch, and as they climbed out effortlessly, our motivation to get into the air shifted to second gear. In near-record time we were all three launched and climbing out. The thermals were small and punchy, but they seemed to converge at a few thousand feet over launch, making them biggger, stronger and more pleasant to core.

A shot of me above Cascade

Viewing the top of Cascade with Timp in the background

Jeff was seen from time to time when he slowed below warp speed, but just as he appeared, he would vainish without a trace. Greg and I followed Jeff south to Rock Canyon, and before Jeff could finish radioing, "lets head for the Y" (a land mark south of Rock Canyon), it was as though a giant sling shot catapulted him forward. Greg and I opted to follow a scraggly thermal that landed us over Cascade. At one point in a thermal over Cascade, we were joined by a golden eagle. Priceless! Later we crossed Provo Canyon and onto the flanks of Timpanogas. All three of us spent a good 45 minutes or more on Timp climbing out in smooth late afternoon thermals, enoying the great lift and incredible views.


Jeff's duct tape wonder

Greg landing

Jeff in the big green LZ - photo Greg Billow

Monday, September 03, 2007

More From Saturday

Greg's wife Jennifer took some pic's on Saturday and I just figured out how to open the files.

Greg and Cody with Cody's neighbor in the background

Me landing at Cody's house

Greg's kids, Emily, Page and Jeremy

One of Cody's dogs

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Wellvilles


The Wellvilles are a range of mountains slightly north of Brigham City, Utah. It is a perfect formation of crags and peaks that looks as though God designed it specifically for soaring. I have eyed them for years. Everytime I drive up to the Short Divide, I pass the Wellvilles to the west and wonder about the possibilities of flying the perfect range. Cody and Greg flew the Wellvilles in June after being introduced to the site by a local pilot, and since then I have pestered them about flying there. This past Saturday the weather conditions looked poor around Salt Lake for flying and there wasn't enough wind for the Short Divide, so we came up with a plan to fly the Wellvilles with Cody's house (and a barbecue) as our goal - which works because Cody's house is only 8-10 miles to the east, over the back.

Bruce launching



Finding a driver is always an issue, especially with sites like the Wellvilles. Because the launch area is an hour's drive from the LZ and because the road is very primitive, you don't want to drive back up to retrieve your vehicle. We were in luck! One of my friends from Texas was out for the week and we managed to hornshwaggel (in Texas a word meaning to coerce or finagle) Darryl into driving. Darryl and I met Cody and Greg in Brigham City around 12:30 pm, and before long we were on the road to the Towers launch. The road to the top is in my book a catagory 4-5, with 5 being the nastiest, scariest road I've been on. Along the way to the top Darryl could be heard muttering short sentences under his breath like, you crazy fools do this for fun?, as well as making reference to situations where one might have brought along a case of pampers. At one point for meanness Cody locked the doors and sped up the truck just to dispell any ideas anyone might have about abandoning the truck.





So we made it to the top without incident, and we were rewarded with one of the most beautiful launches I've been on. We quickly set up in the afternoon breeze, and before long I was launched and circling in a little disorganized core above a craggy spine just north of launch. The thermal amazingly came together, and I was soon a few hundred feet over launch. The boys were quickly suiting up and making their way to launch as I was coring my way to a thousand feet over. Greg and Cody took off close together and were soon making the best of the late afternoon lift. At one point, in the words of Darryl, Cody was well below the prominent point in front of launch and out of site when he meandered into a decent core that saved him from a premature landing. The boys stuck it out in the light lift for another 45 minutes and managed to climb out to a thousand and some change over. Greg was the next to go over the back and with his altitude managed to fly to Pisgha Peak, which is the mountain directly over the back. Greg was amazed to see Cody venture over the back, being only a few hundred feet above launch, the Code Man got drilled and ended up landing in Sardine Canyon. Greg soon found himself out of lift and low and opted to land in the same wash Cody had landed in earlier.

I was able to manage a bit more altitude and squeaked over the back. I landed at the Dobson's residence after conversing with Cody several times on the radio regarding the location of his house. We all ended up at Cody's house where we had a great barbecue and enjoyed the Dobson's awesome digs.

Cody's backyard