Purpose Statement

Exploration -> Experience -> Feeling -> Transformation -> Understanding

Sunday, September 14, 2008

My Annual Flight

After swim practice, Special Ed and I (and Wrangler and Jammer) headed south to Box. The desert is velvety green from the great monsoon season and the clear air made for crisp, sharp horizons. We started hiking through waist high grass in the LZ around 2:30 PM. The trail is mostly gone. Occasionally we would find a short strip of worn foot path, but most all of the hike was bushwhacking. The winds were very, very light, the temperature was warm, but it was the high humidity that made it uncomfortable. The humidity, trail breaking and having to high step through the acacia and grass reduced our pace to a crawl. Ed and I have both summited Box in 1 hour. It tooks us almost 3 hours yesterday.

The big surprise on launch was the smooth 6-8 knot breeze right up the spine. Perfect conditions for beginners or two old men who haven't flown in a year. I stepped off and immediately floated up 200'. Ed floated up right behind me. We floated around for an hour in perfectly smooth lift. A big raptor, maybe a golden eagle, flew around with us, but his min sink was better than ours so he topped out and headed toward the HG launch.

Before sunset, we headed for the LZ, calling the dogs to follow us down the spine. I left first and as I flew away, I looked back to locate Ed. I looked over my left shoulder, right shoulder, and then leaned back in my harness and rolled my head straight back. Imagine: upside down view of the rocky peaks, the full moon rising over the cumulus clouds on the horizon to the east, the silhouette of Ed's glider about the same angular size as the moon and just to the side of the moon, all in the radiant light of sunset.

We both did very conservative, text book aircraft approaches and had soft landings right next to Arjan's memorial. The dogs arrived in the LZ just as we finished packing up our gliders. Oh! BTW. Grasshoppers everywhere. The William Burrows Naked Lunch giant LSD colored grasshoppers. The west horizon was burning orange, Baboquivari a sharp silhouette, the full moon rising from behind the Santa Ritas.

A brutal hike, a beautiful flight. Life is very, very good.

2 comments:

John said...

sounds quite beautiful.

i worked last month with a dr who had a baby named arjan - somehow it made me rather weepy.

sheryl said...

oops, that was supposed to be under my name....