Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Woodside May 24

Mostly cloudy with a bunch of blue holes, Woodside was the call as it was south winds aloft which was keeping Bridal in the shade all day. We got to watch a police cruiser drive to launch to inspect the stolen and burned-out truck, and were wondering if the tow truck was going to have to tow both vehicles out! But she made it back up the hill, fishtailing the whole way, and the tow truck was able to drag the truck out as well. But what a mess left behind as the truck was shedding parts the whole way out. We picked 6 garbage bags of truck parts off the road and the parking lot.

The air was a bit snotty initially, the south knob was working very reliably but very ratty and a handful at times. Over the back to Agassiz Mountain and it was working better there, and then made the jump to Bear.

The river has risen a lot since the last time we flew here, and the sandbars on the Ludwig side are currently underwater. No low crossings to Ludwig for the next while; alternative ways to Bridal include via Harvest Market to Bridal launch, or crossing into Laidlaw from Hicks and trying to fly west from there instead.

With the Ludwig option now closed what to do? It was really light winds, and flying to Hope was an option. But Alex suggested trying to fly back to Woodside launch as this is a hard thing to do on a PG (normally) with the prevailing winds. Alex was a bit in front and was able to catch a climb west to Green Hill, while I missed the climb and arrived on the east side of Agassiz Mountain really low (300m). Al was behind us and also trying to fly back to Woodside.

I was just outside the prison CYR boundary (which has a ceiling of 335m) so I had to get higher before venturing west. There is a little bowl conveniently located just outside the CYR boundary that was working nicely, and I was able to get to 600m which enabled me to cross over the CYR and get to the nice cliffs and get even higher.

At this point Martina, Kevin, and Rob S. were coming from Woodside on their way to Green Hill and the Esso station in Agassiz. Passed each other and then it was the push back to Woodside launch. Alex tried the "south knob" approach and had to turn around in the shade to get back up in the sun, while I was topping up at Agassiz Mountain.

At 1300m I figured I had enough to make it back to Woodside, and it was shading out quite a bit so I didn't want to wait any longer. I went for it, having to go around the south knob and popping around the SE corner at 500m (just over the last tree line; the new cutblock behind the south knob gave me a few beeps to help me along). Once back on the west side I was able to thermal up in the last bits of the day with Mark Tulloch who was still in the air on his HG.

Alex meanwhile had topped up to 1400m+ and was able to take a more direct line back to launch, over the towers and skip the whole south knob route. Al tried the same route as me but was unable to make around the last little bit, landing around Harvest West and getting picked up by the Esso crew.

Light winds all day, and a short rainshower at the end of the day to round things off. Not an epic day and rather average in fact, but still nice to be able to try something new that PG's don't get the chance to try very often!

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