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[personal profile] flexagon
In an ironic and (to me) amusing twist, hang gliding last weekend was pretty anticlimactic. We would never have gotten a large group together, or been able to reserve a nice 8-person AirBnB, if I hadn't planned way in advance; but I also learned that you shouldn't plan way in advance when something is 100% dependent on exact weather/wind conditions.

On Day 1, Saturday, we got to set up a glider, which basically means unfolding it and adding struts to it like you'd add tent poles to a tent. Then we learned how to hold it on our shoulders and trot with it so that it picked itself up for a few seconds. We rotated between four people on one glider, so there was a significant wait between attempts; I'm not sure this was wisest in terms of time usage since there was so much lag between try #1 and try #2 but, at any rate, my second try went fine.

Then we went a little bit up the hill and tried to run downhill! My hang glider picked itself up and then picked me up, but I held it too far in front of me (instead of holding the triangle back by my sides and keeping my chest shoved through) and that led to an inglorious nosedive from maybe a foot off the ground. Obviously I felt fine about that -- hey, very first try, lots of tries left to go! -- and [personal profile] heisenbug got a glorious picture of me going splat. I got up laughing. Sadly, I was strapped into the glider for my second try when we found ourselves waiting for the wind direction to change; it was just a mild breeze, but the direction never changed and everyone came in off the hill. Mild drama was added at this point, as one lone paraglider went up from the top of the hill and went down, observed by many people, as his sail partially collapsed and he disappeared behind the hilltop. (He had a radio and was soon determined to be fine, and they sent folks out with a "rope kit" to fetch him, his pride, and his paraglider from a tree.)

We left early, with the promise of more efficiently getting to the hill on Sunday; and had a perfectly fine social time of lunch, playing Joking Hazard and A Fake Artist Goes to New York, and dinner at the AirBnB. The second game was new to me, and I laughed until I cried when everyone tagged me as the fake artist for drawing a skateboard under (what was supposed to be) the Power Rangers -- I have never seen such a ranger, and thus provided excellent cover to the real fake artist. So it goes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I was still disappointed at not getting to correct the easily fixable mistake in my first-and-only run downhill, and heartened the next morning when the forecast (which had said "gusty") cleared up quite a bit; our experienced friend thought we would get more attempts. Unfortunately, the morning weather reading indicated not; the mild, pleasant breeze was again from The Wrong Direction. Nobody else went out either, except for some beginning paragliders who were just learning "kiting" or handling their equipment on the ground; and we did acro for a bit on the grass there and went home, with vouchers in hand for another day.

I'll happily try again, and clearly the way to go is to call in advance, go on very short notice in smaller groups, and maximize one's chance of ideal conditions. I grew up daydreaming about hang gliding, and it still seems appealing, modulo the main dealbreakers of needing a lot of equipment and a car and perfect weather conditions, and a few more tries seem in order.


This weekend I also learned that if one hang glides during spider parachuting season -- you know how baby spiders will reel out a thread until it picks them up and wafts them to a new home? One can apparently hang-glide along and collect tons of these baby spiders on one's guide wires, then land and be instantly surrounded. Ahhhhhh! Why did no one ever tell me about this nightmarish possibility!?
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