Sunday, April 14, 2013

Woodside April 14

32km FAI triangle

A rather iffy day with lots of OD predicted and possible storms later on.  We weren't sure if it would be flyable, and if so, for how long, so we were gonna take what we could get.  Up on launch it was OD'ing and snowing over on Sasquatch and also over Agassiz, but the skies were changing rapidly and pretty soon the Agassiz snowstorm cleared up.

Looking back at Hopyard and Cemetary on my way to Bridal.

I had no interest in heading west towards the OD that was hanging out on the Sasquatch side, and doing the Woodside-Bridal run via Bear was getting old, and there were lots of clouds in the valley, so I decided to try Woodside to Bridal via Harvest Market (normally not done due to airspace limitations or lack of clouds since it's a really long glide otherwise!).

A nice cu over Hopyard Hill and I was back at cloudbase (not high, mind you, only 1100m or so) and then after another tankup by the Agassiz/Rosedale bridge, arrived on the Bridal side to lots of shade.  There was a huge cu just west of Bridal proper, so I stayed well east and tanked up at Cheam while Alex and Dennis were coming from Ludwig.

As I said before, the skies would change rapidly, so by the time I tanked up and thought about heading west again, the big cu had moved off and it looked safer to be heading that way.  The Deimos crew were out on Bridal launch with a truck, so you can now drive straight to Bridal launch.

Nice skies in the middle of the valley!
Lots of shade west of Upper Bridal and no joy at Gloria, so I flew out to the lower bench where the sun was and beamed out again to cloudbase, which by now had risen to an almighty 1400m.  Since I had done the via-Harvest route coming here, I decided to try the more direct line back to Woodside via Rosedale, and there were clouds out that way to help me along.

But not enough clouds, or not enough lift on the sandbars, and I landed short on the south side of the river directly across from Riverside.  Fortunately Ihor had said earlier he'd come after me, so it wasn't long before he swung by to take me the long way back to Woodside.  Meanwhile Dennis had landed at the Bridal LZ, and Alex had taken the Harvest route back and gotten some lift on the sandbars (I think he stole my lift!) and back to Woodside.  Al had landed around the base of Hicks, while Fred was still in the air when we all headed home.  Last we heard Fred had landed on an unconnected sandbar and was trying to figure out a way to the mainland, and finally got himself across either by swimming or wading.  The sandbars are disappearing fast, and all the ones that were connected only 2 weeks ago are now either gone altogether, or now islands.  Pretty soon the Fraser Valley crossings will become that much harder!
Landed on the wrong side of the river, but Ihor was to the rescue!

It was a pretty sweet flight, considering how it could have OD'd all over and shut us down completely; it was nice to actually get some XC in and not feel trapped by big clouds.  Today there was enough blue skies around and light winds, that there was always an escape route possible from the OD and we didn't have to worry about getting trapped on the wrong side of a towering cu.

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