Fraser Valley Easter Weekend April 4-5-6

LIttle Nic launch after the hike up under grey skies on Sunday
After a very rainy March it was finally good weather for XC in the Fraser Valley!  Saturday looked very promising and I was test-flying Martina's Cayenne 4, so I took it for a spin over the back and to the Bridal side of the valley.  Lots of clouds in the middle of the valley so it was a Green Hill crossing and the usual sandbar thermal to get me onto Butterfly along with Peter, Andrew, and Al.

Kevin and I heading out towards Mt. Thom.  Cultus lake in the background.
There was a big cloud shading out the western part of the Bridal range; Andrew and I ended up at the Bridal LZ while Al hung out at the knob for 40+ minutes until some sun came through and he was off to Elk and back home to Woodside.  Peter had turned around and back to Ludwig before recrossing to Green Hill and back to Woodside that way.  So Andrew and I had a nice hitchhike back to Agassiz until Claudia came by to pick us up; thanks Claudia!

Big cu forming over Woodside later in the day.
Sunday was pretty lame, lots of high cloud was shading things out despite the cu's and it was very scratchy at Woodside.  I didn't fly long, maybe 30 minutes, before I decided to head out.  Others landed at Riverside after an hour or so of similar scratching.  Since the day was so lame a group of us decided to salvage something by hiking up the new trail to Little Nic (without gliders).  I hadn't been up Little Nic in years but it was much cleaner than I remembered...maybe the washed-out road and recent Club activity has kept most of the rednecks away?  It was beautiful view regardless and it was nice to see a launch that we normally just fly over when flying XC from Mt. St. Benedict or Woodside.

Robin and I heading out to land at Brad's.
Today was a completely different day...lots of huge development despite the high cloud (and maybe the high cloud was actually a good thing in that it kept the thunderstorms away) and it was easy to stay up.  Today we opted for Bridal as Woodside was looking a bit too strong and blownout; I think we made the right call as we flew for several hours and had a fantastic time playing in the clouds at Elk around 1400m.  There was a bit of wind in the air and reports of windy landings at the Bridal LZ (one pilot almost missed the LZ due to setting up a bit too far back in the wind), so Kevin suggested we land at Brad Henry's place in Rosedale (nice big fields) for a change of pace.  BTW the Bridal LZ is looking fantastic; it's been freshly mowed and is now ginormous.  We just need some new lawn furniture as the old stuff is looking pretty UV'd up!

Big development over the Bridal range after we landed.
Meanwhile back at Woodside it sounded quite "industrial" and many pilots left Woodside to come to Bridal instead.  Reports of a student in the trees in the gully between launch and the south knoll (they were OK) after getting turned downwind after launching.

Helping Brad out at his place.

Robin's new glider (Norm's old glider!)
After landing next to Brad's house the skies really got interesting as towering cu'd were going on all over the place with virga, snow, and rain over Dewdney, Black, and behind Woodside.

Love those grins!  Photo courtesy of Kevin Ault

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