Thursday was another textbook perfect day at Marshall/Crestline. Clear, Steady upslope wind, classic California weather…not too cold…not too hot…the Goldilocks of weather…Just Right!
Anyways, the boys from Wills Wing were out early test flying brand new hang gliders. I was kind of star-struck and I fumbled my words when I walked up to the van with Mike Meier, Steve Pearson, David Aldrich, Ken Howells, and Alfredo Grey. I felt like a kook, this Texas dude out in California, but Steve was like “Hey Tyson!” and I didn’t want to disturb them as they were all waiting to go up the hill and get some test flying done.
Anyways, Kale and I caught a ride with Rob McKinzie in his NICE air-conditioned van and there was this older asian paraglider dude that took the ride up with us. His english was really broken up and from what we could gather was that it had been 3 years since he had last flown. I was thinking, “Oh god, this dude is going up to Crestline!?” Anyways, Rob caught wind that this guy was a bit rusty and he didn’t let him launch at Crestline. Meanwhile, Kale and I set up gliders and had lunch at launch under our wings. It was nice up there at launch. It is easily 20 degrees cooler up there and we just kicked back and ate sandwiches soaking it all in. Kale didn’t want another rowdy day, he brought himself a book to read until the conditions calmed down later on in the afternoon. At this point in the trip I don’t have anymore GoPro footage. I was burned out on trying to keep the batteries charged and mounting the damned thing every time…it felt good not having to deal with it…but, there is no sauce to enjoy later on…it’s all in my head and in this journal. Anyways, the wind was coming in perfect and it was another stunningly perfect launch and I was soaring the upper ridge and exploring a bit further than normal. Got low and climbed back out from 500′ above AJX and took it all the way back up to Marshall then another back up to Crestline. I did this a couple of times, it feels great doing it! I jumped over to pine flats and skied out, buzzed the launches of Marshall, Regionals, and the lower 750′ launch. I tried my best to keep my eyes open and saw a few Red Tail Hawks, and flew with a conspiracy of crows. I gazed out at the snow capped San Gabriel Mountains and imagined what it would be like to climb to above those peaks.
This day, I made sure not to fly too long, and let the wind switch cadiabadic on me. So I spiraled down in a bit of sink after I flew out over the university and little mountain. This time I was going to make sure I had a great landing on the AJX LZ. The landing zone at Andy Jackson Flight Park is DELUXE!!! You want to walk barefoot on it because it is soo soft and when you step on it it sinks in just a bit. Sooo NICE!!! Probably because they water it everynight and take care of it with fertilizer. Speaking of fertilizer…when I was on approach there were all these 5ft high piles of manure dotted around the LZ. Next thing I knew I was on final and heading towards the cone. Someone had moved the cone next to a pile of the manure! Anyways, I avoid the manure and end up landing in the back end of the LZ. I had a good flare and my trusty U2-160 came to a rest on my shoulders as landed. It feels so good to land a hang glider, it’s one of my favorite parts about flying. The guys said I got my moneys worth on my landing because I skimmed accross the whole LZ and landed at the very end.
Again, it was another night of camaraderie, storytelling, laughter, and all around good times that couldn’t be beat. Our tents were set up about 100 yards away from the LZ and the shower was right behind us.
We stayed up to enjoy the sunset and the cool air coming down off the mountian, chilling the most!