Saturday, January 07, 2006

Pu'u Pupule

While in Maui I met some pilots from the BI and they invited me over to huck off some pu'u's on Mauna Kea - why not. The drive up off saddle road was definitely 4 wheel material. Only other people up there were bird hunters with dogs shooting quail, chucker, and erkel. Their firing was unnerving while flying - hoping they were shooting at birds and not parapanties.

We could drive up to about 10 grand and had to hike the remaining 1K - that altitude provides a good workout as well as an incredible view and landscape, Mars-like. The crushed lava pu'u slopes are challenging to negotiate. Now I know where they get all that lava rock for BBQ gas grills. You could see Haleakala to the north and Hualalai and Mauna Loa to the south. You could also just barely peek into Waipo Valley but would need a 10-1 glide ratio to get there - someday. For three days we gathered up there at 0830 and waited for the wind to fill. It was Pu'u heaven - as you flew by you could work the windward side of each to play and/or get higher. Once down to pasture land it was a matter of working weak thermals and following the highway for quick recovery. The high pressure was still parked over the state and kept the thermal activity down but the extended sled rides were awesome. Desending down through the inversion layer was always interesting as the wind direction could change up to 180 degrees. People were so friendly after landing always offering a ride - lucky we live Hawaii.

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