Monday, September 2, 2019

Mara Lake September 2

Labour Day was shaping up to be a fantastic-looking light north wind day, which is perfect for XC from Mara Lake.  We got a crew together and after signing in at the LZ (Little Green Ranch, there is a sign in clipboard), headed up.

It's been a while since I was last at Mara Lake, and most of my flights there have been SIV-related, so I was excited to go XC and try to fly back to the car parked at the Walmart in Vernon.  The cu's looked yummy, but the cycles on launch were very north and the corresponding lift was tough to find initially.  I was lucky in seeing a hawk coring up in front of launch and joining it to 2000+m, while most other pilots were forced to either wait for better cycles, or scunge around launch height in search of lift.

The skies are calling!
It was a bit more north wind than I was expecting but it was also helping get me back to Vernon quicker ;)  The rowdiest air I found was approaching the Enderby cliffs (which face west) where it was very turbulent and I needed to be on my A-game to keep the glider open.  Weirdly enough, despite the awesome-looking skies, I was barely able to break through 2000m so had to cross the Enderby gap a bit lower than usual.

However once on the south side of Enderby things started to change.  The climbs started getting easier and higher, but at the same time, the local airspace started coming down and I began to find myself approaching restricted airspace!  So instead of having to slow down for climbs, I found myself leaving lift in order to stay legal.  I could see Swan Lake in the distance with the Walmart at the south end and the lake was looking like light north wind...perfect for final glide and landing conditions.  Now just have to find a place to land...

Fortunately Walmart, despite not being landable itself (unless you spot land in the parking lot, avoid the long-weekend shopping crowds, and probably get a bylaw ticket) has lots of suitable fields 2-3 blocks away.  Perfect places to land and it's a 5-10 minute walk back to the car, easy-peasy!

At Swan Lake, on final glide to the Vernon Walmart (the large white building east of the highway interchange).  Kalamalka Lake on the left, Okanagan Lake on the right.
Meanwhile most other pilots had either landed at Little Green Ranch or in Enderby after failing to make the Enderby gap crossing, although Dan continued on to top-land at King Eddy.  I had plenty of height to to to King Eddy as well, but I needed to be back in Vancouver the next day, and with a 5 hour drive ahead of me, decided to land at the car and save the hassle of getting a ride back later.  I really enjoyed this flight, especially since I don't get to Mara Lake that often!

Mara Lake to Vernon Walmart flight.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

King Eddy September 1

A much more calm day, skies-wise, so more people were at King Eddy today.  Even Tyler made an appearance, tuning his hang glider before heading to the comp in the US.

It was still a tough-ish day to get away, I landed near the Lumby Golf Course and a couple pilots made it to Lumby proper.  Thanks to Jackie for coming by to pick me up!

BBQ at Paraglide Canada that night and we made plans to fly at Mara Lake the next day, with the expected light north winds.

Saturday, August 31, 2019

King Eddy August 31

With the weather not looking too good for the lower mainland over the Labour Day long weekend, I decided to get away for a bit to the Okanagan and the fly-in at King Eddy.

Big clouds forming to the west!
Despite the huge clouds around it was very light conditions in the air and most pilots sunk out.  Glenn and I flew around for an hour or so before going out to check out the bears resting in the corn fields next to the LZ.  From above they are little black piles of fur resting on the shady sides of the crop circles they created, hidden from everyone except birds and paraglider pilots ;)

Getting close to time to land!
It's a good thing we decided to fly there earlier than usual, since it overdeveloped and a nice fat rain cell with thunder and lightening rolled through later in the afternoon.  Initially I thought it may clear up in time for an evening flight, but a last-minute cell passing through right over launch nixed that idea!  I spent the afternoon on top of Mt. Middleton with a perfect view towards Kalamalka Lake and the approaching thunderstorms.  But it was time to take cover when they got too close...there's no shelter up there and besides, it's the tallest thing around, not a good place to be when there are lightening strikes going on!

Atop Mt. Middleton.  A lull between the storm cells.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Pemberton Aug 3-4

After last week's Canadian Nationals I was ready to do relaxing sightseeing flying!  We were forecast to have light-ish winds and from either the north or east...that usually means drier air and higher cloudbase, with little chance of an afternoon Whistler Express.

Sugarloaf Mountain
Saturday the north wind was a bit more than I was hoping, and the climbs were a bit ratty and all over the place, so I ended up turning around at Goat Mountain rather than continue over the Hurley Pass and to Spindrift.  But it was kinda fun to use the north wind to drift over the back at Copper and Goat, and not have to worry about getting too far back and not able to make it back out to the nice LZs!
Rhododendron Mountain and glacier.

Sunday the wind switched to very light east winds, which I find to be a nicer direction vs. north.  It was a bit of a late start however...I didn't launch until around 1:30pm and it took ~30 minutes to climb out, but when I did, it was to 2500+m and an easy glide to the Miller side of the valley.

Big climbs on the Miller side to 3000m and it was easy cruising over the glaciers and Sugarloaf Mountain to view the alpine lakes and the Pemberton Icefield.  I'm glad I was wearing my puffy pants and jacket as it was close to 0C that high (even though it was 30+C on the ground)!

Rhododendron Mountain, Mt. Miller, and part of Ipsoot Glacier.
Over on the miller side it was actually SE winds, which meant coming back on the Miller side would be into the wind, and it was starting to blue up on the Miller side (while there were still cu's on the MacKenzie side) so I jumped over to Camel Hump, grovelled there for about 20 minutes (until I found a climb I thought I might have to land out and thumb my way back!), then jumped over to Copper for the return flight.  Even though it wasn't a long flight, it was certainly scenic!

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Pemberton July 28

The day after the comp finished and it was a beautiful day, not too windy, so I did a quick out-n-return to Goat Mountain and back, with a stopover on the Miller side.  Awesome clouds but I wasn't in the mood for a huge flight, just something to decompress with after the comp!

Over on the Miller side I found a climb on the hills overlooking the LZ, and was able to hang out there for a good 30 minutes, bobbing around 1000m on the west-facing clearcuts.

Tenquille Lake under a perfect sky.