Saturday, June 30, 2012

80.6 miles

After several skunks at Heber this year, yesterday yielded 80.6 miles from Heber, Utah to Mt. View, Wyoming. 

Lisa V and I launched within minutes of each other - around 12:45pm.  We didn't hang around launch too long.  Lisa was out on route at 13k, 15 minutes after taking off.  Unlike many Heber XC days where a pilot is hanging out in turbulent air waiting for the right thermal to get high enough to leave, the air was relatively smooth and great thermals were abundant.  I was 15 min. behind Lisa, and on glide for the cement plant (a great thermal generator 5 miles over the back) after climbing out to 11.5k.  Lift was consistent all the way to Coalville (22 miles out), with climbs to 13+k.  Lisa stayed ahead of me most of the flight, but our flight path to Mt. View was pretty much identical after discussing it later.  At Coalville I got a bit low, but found good lift that took me from 7900 to 13k.  I drifted back into Chalk Creek and worked light, unorganized lift until finding a solid core close to Porcupine Mt.  I drifted NE as the thermal I was in gained strength finally topping out at 15k.

The lift was over this desolate area NE of Porcupine was solid enough, that I felt confident to go on glide for Evanston. I arrived at Evanston (60 miles from launch) never getting below 13k.

At this point the route follows I-80 due east from Evanston.  We both had no problem making Oyster Ridge with plenty of altitude to spare.  There are gigantic wind mills scattered all over this area.  They were indicating a definite westerly flow.  We followed I-80 east, only to find strong west winds and little to no lift.   We safely landed close to the Mt. View exit, a few miles apart in 30+mph Surface winds.