Monday, March 19, 2012

Woodside March 19

Looking west from Sasquatch Mountain
My first flight since getting back from Mexico, and it was certainly cold!  Big puffy jacket, 2 wool layers, 2 balaclavas, ski goggles, mittens, and chemical handwarmers were needed to stay warm today.  But it was worth it!

The first group of pilots were already in the air by the time we arrived on launch (you can drive to the spur road despite all the new snow; the Hammer-mobile went all the way in) and it wasn't looking too promising with north cycles and shading-over skies.  But it turned more-on shortly and it didn't matter if it was blue or not...there was plenty of lift in most places.


At Sasquatch Mountain looking back at Woodside
It took me a while to get high enough to contemplate an into-wind crossing to Sasquatch and by the time I got up to cloudbase just shy of 1650m, I was very far north and not in the optimal position for jumping west, but I figured I'd go for it anyways.  The SW wind made crossing a bitch from my originating angle but I managed to get up on the other side just in time to watch a huge waterbomber come bombing through over Echo lake ~800m above me.

It was significantly SW over there and not so nice to continue west, so I snuck up to Sasquatch peak to get a few photos and then headed back to Woodside.  I didn't leave from very high, 1000m at the bumps, but I found something over Eagle Ranch which gave me an extra 100m and just enough oomph to continue to Woodside proper without committing to the bailout swamp and ignominy.

Sasquatch peak 
Started heading to Agassiz Mountain but about 1/3 of the way there I watched a shadow line creep up the mountain and realized it would shade it out before I got there so I turned around.  And a cell was dumping snow over on Elk and the SW winds aloft was pushing it our way.  Oh well time to head over the river and explore the sandbars; there was a paramotor there earlier doing touch-n-goes.  Landed just as it started to grey out and get all misty-looking.

In the end I flew for 3.5 hours and had quite a nice flight flying over the freshly-snowed-in trees.  (Tracklog is here.)  Other pilots flew to Agassiz and back, or over to Ludwig and Bridal, while a bunch stayed local and top-landed to drive down the multitude of vehicles.  Alan at Bridal had worse luck...he hiked up and then back down as it wasn't really launchable.  And I heard Ivan commenting about some Elk flights.  Looking at the forecast, this may have been it for the next 4-5 days at least!

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