31 July 2014

Not There, Here.

Crown Mountain
'Just a short flight to test my harness.', I thought. My Gin Genie Race 3 had arrived and I was eager to fly it. My local site, Grouse Mountain, produced unexpectedly magical evening air that gifted me with an exploration into the deeper valleys, far from roads and landing fields. I had a rare close up view of Crown Mountain and even Mount Perrault at the deepest.

The return to civilization was tense, for a time, when I faced a headwind lower in a valley. With only steep rock faces and a sea of evergreen below me, I skipped my iPod Shuffle to a super chilled ambient downtempo track: High As We Might Be by Kalpataru Tree, from the album All Things Passing.

I breathed deeply, and focused on finding lift. 'You're not there, you're here. Fly this.', I reminded myself. In a challenging situation, I sometimes begin to fantasize about a situation less challenging, that I would prefer, than to give all of my attention to what is happening now. How did this happen? Why am I here? I wish I was not here. All useless questions.

I descended into a narrow gully. Still, my anxiety was fading, I was noticing the beauty around me, and enjoying the flight immensely. I was no longer trying to run for the exit, resisting the situation, wishing for something to be different. I was relaxed and therefore able to access my experience and skill, to manage the risks I had exposed myself to.

Patiently, I focused on improving my position, gradually. After some time, I suddenly realized that I was past the worst of it and would likely reach the main open valley. I was enjoying the flying so much that I hadn't noticed the transition from trapped to free. I was always free.

I find it euphoric to fly my paraglider over beautiful and rugged terrain and just giggle at how absurd it is that humans can do this kind of thing, just for fun. I also find it equally euphoric to return from this remote paradise, unscathed, to make goal, to land in a familiar field with children playing, covered in lush grass, close to home, and replay the magic in my mind as I pack my gear and leave across a dew covered field, as the Sun sets.

12 July 2014

Lillooet Glacier

Left: Capricorn Mountain Right: Lillooet Glacier
This is my most remote moment while flying a paraglider: the far end of a 120 km out-and-return flight.

Despite the cloudless sky and haze, turbulent thermals lifted me to 3000 metres. I moved from one peak to the next, into ever increasing remoteness. Without an engine, using only nature's energies, I smiled often during this magic carpet ride with my Boomerang 9.

The electric feeling of adventure, loneliness, exhilaration, peace, anticipation, and vulnerability, is difficult to describe adequately.

I can say that I am grateful for this day.

[VLOG] A Walk in the Garden II

Do we need a reason to fly?