Friday, August 15, 2014

Aloft again

It had been nearly four months since I broke both my feet paragliding when I got an irrestible offer to fly tandem with a friend who is an excellent pilot. I'm talking competes-internationally-and-holds-the-Washington-State-paragliding-record-for-longest-flight, excellent. And in breathtaking Pemberton, Canada nonetheless. So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to fly again. And it was a flight to remember!

Josh waiting for a good cycle to launch.
I expected to be really nervous on launch, what with my feet almost healed and it being one of those getting-back-on-the-horse-that-bucked-you-off sort of experiences. But I was pleasantly surprised to find myself more excited than nervous. And as a pilot, I knew what to expect. First we'd get strapped in, then Matty would inflate the glider into the wind, we'd take a few steps uphill, then turn and run off the mountain. Easy-peesy, lemon squeezy. And for once, it truly was. I didn't stumble. I didn't trip. I just calmly ran off the mountain into the open air with Matty at my back and a solid glider overhead.
And the view? Stunning! We found lift, got above the mountain and flew down the ridge. We made some turns, checked out the glaciers and tiny mountain lakes from afar and then made our way to a lush green field.
Looking south towards Mt. Currie
Looking west across the valley at the glaciers
Yes, glaciers!

A beautiful valley with lots of green fields.

Time to pick our landing zone!

As we were making our final turns, setting up to land, Matty told me to stick my legs out straight. Sorta like I was trying to touch my toes, something I cannot do. Still, it worked and Matty landed me gently on my rear, feet completely protected. I was exhilarated, giddy like a kid in a candy shop. I love flying and it felt so good to be back aloft. It also was wonderful to discover that I'm not nervous about flying despite my accident and subsequent time away from the sport.

Coming into land with my feet out straight

Woohoo! We made it and I can still walk!!

Me and Matty rejoicing in our splendid flight, all smiles

Now I just have to get back to flying solo again. Perhaps in a couple months, after we are done exploring the oceans.


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