|The gang on Elk on Solstice Day.|
It was that time of year again, when the Elk hike-n-fliers head up to Elk for an overnight stay before flying down the next morning. Alex and I decided to join in the fun, but instead of hiking up Elk, we'd try to fly there from Bridal and top-land Elk with all our camping gear, saving the hike up.
As the upper shade moved in our plans changed from "let's fly Bridal a bunch and then eventually head over to Elk and top-land" to "let's try not to sink out". Going to Elk was a long exercise in patience as the lift was extremely light and it was slight NE winds too, which made the almost-thermals drift in unusual directions. When we got to Elk it was another patience-fest to not only avoid sinking out, but also getting high enough to top-land the meadows and not get rotored by the north wind at the same time (as the meadows face SE-SSW).
Alex managed to eventually get high enough to do a fly-on-the-wall on the Elk meadows but I was only able to get as high as the lookout, which is about 50m below the actual meadows. I could see the meadows plus all the Elk hike-n-fliers cheering me on, but I was unable to get that extra 50m! Arghh! Finally, after over 1 hour of trying to get that extra little bit I bailed and landed at Eddy's.
Alex, being the very nice boyfriend :) , stashed his gear and descended the trail so we could share the burden of getting my glider plus comp harness plus camping gear up to launch. We arrived to find a bonfire already burning and Eddy offering up his famous calf liver stew, plus lots of alcohol already evident! Music and stories as we watched the sun set behind the clouds and then it was time to sleep under the stars and await dawn only a few hours away.
Brightening skies this morning at 4:30am and launching from the meadows by 7am and then we were all back at the LZ for breakfast. Another successful Solstice Day Party! I had a really fun time despite failing to top-land and look forward to next year's :)