It is UEA weekend, which means the kids are out of school, and a great reason to jump over the ridge to Park City…Deer Valley, actually. It seems with every trip, the paragliding gear always seems to find its way into the back of the truck. Just a few short flights are okay, right? Wesley and I do a quick evening flight off PC Mountain in strong crosswind conditions. Made for a short flight, but at least my feet leave the ground.
The following morning, I awake to no wind, clear skies, beautiful autumn colors, and cold crisp air. A few mintues walking and we are launching into the beautiful scenery. The second flight is a little more thermic, but nothing substantial, just enough to throw me around a little bit. It is just pure beautiful autumn flying. Great to be up here spending time and flying with the family.
I love the colors, smells, and calming air of October. It is such a beautiful, calm, clear day we just have to go do a longer hike-n-fly. Matt, Mark, and I trudge our way up the steep trail to the upper launch. The wind is pretty cross up here right now, but were used to it. A quick lay out the gear, a few tugs on the lines and were off. Although not a super long flight, it was great working the small thermals over the bench. It is always great to spend time with fellow pilots, and friends who remain as passionate about this sport as I do.
I am exhausted as I watch the yellow dotted lines flicker passed out the window. I am returning from a busy 7 days of flying. Randolph, Southern California, home sites, now another quick paragliding trip to Jackson Hole. Ever since I have started flying I have always wanted to fly here, and with the season at Jackson rapidly coming to a close, Paul and I just have to run up and get in a quick flight. Of course we had to stop in Randolph, Utah for another awesome evening flight…all the way to dark (twice this week). We arrived in Jackson and are sleeping in the gravel by the truck in a safe place, so we think. People wandering the middle of the night, drug deals, bullets being chambered, all the while I curl up in my bag under my truck searching for my happy place; it makes for a very unrestful night.
I should have known that today was going to be bad, based on last nights events, but the excitement of the somewhat clear/smoky skies and lack of wind make me smile. We scramble to Teton Village and then the fun begins. My mother always taught me that if I didn’t have anything nice to say, to not say anything at all. With that in mind, this post will be relatively short. Paragliding in Jackson Hole was unfortunately not the dream I had hoped for. The people/pilots were less than, friendly, professional, or even cordial for that matter. If you plan on flying there…just be cautious. Especially if you are an advanced pilot and do not need a guide or your nose wiped. If you are a budding pilot and want/need a guide, then I think the experience would probably be much better, as money often talks. I know there are some nice, fun, friendly local pilots who fly there, but unfortunately none were present today. I do not see myself flying there again anytime soon, nor recommending any of my pilot friends visit either. Once the feet left the ground, it was beautiful with the autumn colors, and to be flying with my buddy Paul, who always makes it entertaining, especially when getting ridiculed by the local pilots.
Paragliding is a wonderful sport, trying so hard to grow and gain acceptance here in the U.S. Perhaps one day we will be more like Europe, where arms are wide open to pilots no matter where you go (for the most part). At least that is how I roll. Any pilot who has traveled to Utah to fly, I am more than willing and excited to help show them the sites…even for free! What started as a Teton dream unfortunately turned in to a restless sleep.