St John to Foster Rd

Sat. happened pretty much like Vince reported. My foot stirrup malfunctioned and I flew head-high the whole day. My glides were greatly reduced and my feet kept going to sleep from so much pressure on them. I managed 49.2 miles and watched my coffee can record fly away in the form of Todd who got 55. His gps batteries died toward the end of the flight so he didn’t know he was .6 miles short of Rich’s record distance. If he’d of known, he said he could of squeaked out another mile or two. Greg also was real close to it.

Sunday I fixed my harness. Todd decided he’d drive; Vince decided to head home. Greg and I launched at 1:35 to 1:40. I worked it in front of launch for about 10 mn. Until I caught a rocket which launched me at 1400fpm. to 11200. Greg worked the switch backs and also found strong lift to over 11000. We headed north with winds showing 17mph from the west. At launch they were from the south around 14.

We found more good lift after the crossing which took us back to over 10g. The winds lightened up a bit but still were WNW around 8. Just before Alder Springs Rd. I stopped to work some light lift. Greg made a few turns in it, decided it wasn’t strong enough and headed NE across Grindstone. I stuck with it and gained enough to keep me deeper in the mts.

At Doe Peak I found good lift which took me to 11200. I was just west of Red Mt. and I worked the convergence line between the strong westerly winds at this altitude and the rising valley flow which was from the south as I glided north. Greg was over near Red around 7g and fell behind me.

The convergence was very narrow, I’d say 100 yards wide or so, and I dolphin flew it till the Gorge west of Paskenta where I caught another thermal to 10200. This gave me the altitude I needed to go deeper in and I was rewarded with another boomer off the east flank of Ball Mt. which took me to 11700. Needless to say things were pretty cold at this altitude and I shivered as I was only wearing a T shirt, my wind breaker, and a speed sleeve. I also only had on my batting gloves and my hands were quite numb, but I was smiling as I figured the record was going to be broken on this day. The winds at this point were showing some south component and my ground speed increased from this point on.

I was deep in the mountains and knew the roads were scarce to non-existent to my NW, since this is the Yolla Bolly Middle Eel Wilderness. I therefore kept enough altitude to glide to the east should the lift disappear. I was able to fly due north, finding lift which kept me around 8 to 9400 g. I was pretty much following the 122.45 longitude line until I saw Hwy 36. I could also see the town of Beegum to my west and the Trinity Mt.s dead ahead.

I wanted to get to the Trinitys and fly their southern sun-baked flanks to the NE. But as I crossed 36 the westerly winds changed my mind as I knew I’d never make it across the Bald Hills, which looked very desolate. I could see a river to my North and some nice pastures and buildings beside it. I flew there with a crossing tail wind and landed in an upper pasture as the winds were quite strong and I didn’t want to be down in the river gorge. The owners had just arrived when I’d hiked the mile to the house and they were very hospitable, allowing me to use their phone and giving me a ride to a cross road where they thought it would be easier to be found. Todd and Greg were soon on the scene and they congratulated me heartily on my flight. I love this sport!

3:32mn. 65.6mi. Foster Road, Shasta County N40d22m/W122d35m

Scot Huber

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