Southern California

I stare down from 37,000 feet into the darkness below.  The lights of the city are fading away as I fly out of Long Beach, California eastward across the desert.  As I stare out the window, eyes heavy, I ponder on the activities of today.  I guess it all started last night when Mark called and said “Hey, want to go to Southern California and do some paragliding tomorrow?” My knee -jerk reaction, as always…”Absolutely!”  Therefore, at 4:45 a.m. I roll from my bed, hop into the car and head to Salt Lake International to catch my flight.

Torrey Pines, a cliff launch over the ocean in butter smooth air.  Green grass to launch from, a snack bar, and miles of sandy beach to fly over…what could be better?  How about some altitude for starters, and I could actually do without all the old naked guys standing on the beach below playing volleyball…now that is just ‘bad naked.’  Although beautiful, so far as you are looking up, the site becomes quite boring to fly after just a short time.  No real altitude here, but pure brainless flying…it was great.
Near lunch time I find myself an hour away from Torrey Pines in a small place called Blossom Valley.  You could not find a place more different than Torrey.  Dry, dry desert with just prickly plants and barren mountains.  However, the thermals are quite strong, and I decide to launch in the heat of the day against my better judgement.  Thirty minutes into the flight, I am tired of getting thrown around in the washing machine air, and call it quits.  Mark follows suit, glad to be back on the ground.
One more quick flight at Torrey Pines, over the cliff, and down to naked beach.  Pack up the glider, get something to eat, then we are outta here.
Now here I sit at 37,000 feet staring into the darkness.  What a great day flying different sites here in southern California, with a great friend.  I am already looking forward to coming back to here soon, perhaps under better flying conditions.

Initial Snapshot

Anytime one starts a blog it is difficult to decide where to start, especially when there is considerable history leading up to said point.  So I think I will start….right…..about….here.

This little video is a compilation of just a fraction of flying adventures that have occurred this summer. WHAT…A…SUMMER, and what a wonderful adventure it has been since I first stepped into the sky. It has been met with unique adventures, tragedy, wonderful flights, and others that are not quite so exciting.

With all worthwhile pursuits, it is often the people along the way that add unique flavors and spices to life.  Over the last little while several individuals have walked (or flown) into my life, making the journey that much funner. I am sure their names will pepper this blog in future postings as there are bound to be great adventures ahead.

  • Mark Pehrson: One of the first pilots I met during the winter months that shares this unquenchable passion for flying we seem to both suffer from.  He continues to be a huge support to me, to bounce new ideas, to learn new lessons, and together we have spent many hours thus far attempting to master these strange contraptions made of fabric and string.
  • Paul Oddou: We met following a tragedy at the 2011 U.S. Nationals Competition in Richfield.  A fellow paraglider pilot crashed at dusk high in the mountains.  I was one of only 2 pilots who saw it and ended up finding her in the dark.  I was rather shaken up over the events, not sure I wanted to do this anymore.  However, at 6 a.m. the following morning I had to get into the air again or be mentally paralyzed forever.  So I climbed into a shuttle van up to the top of Monroe Summit (11,200 ft) and jumped off.  It was here I met Paul.  After flying, he and I walked back to town together and began chatting.  Turns out we share the same frustration for people so unwilling to hike in this sport.  Frustrated from everyone sitting on the grass, and not flying, a friendship was formed that day with our eyes collectively turned towards the real mountains.  We fly a lot together…and have spent many adventures in the sky.
  • Matt Dynan:  I first met Matt high on the north side of Point of the Mountain early one spring.  We have flown together quite a bit at that site, and he too has started to look beyond the Point and towards the bigger mountains.
  • Others: Of course there have been many others that have peppered the path, like Jonathan Jefferies (my instructor), Dave, Doro, JoFo, and many others.  At this point I am thankful for my mentors, advanced pilots who teach, and those willing to be out flying with me.

No point in rambling on here, as it is starting to sound like a speech from the Oscar’s.  Life is an adventure, and I look forward to the wonderful adventures that inevitably lay ahead.  I feel so blessed to be lucky enough to actually realize the human dream of flight.  To feel the earth fall beneath my feet, to soar, climb, and just be free.