Sunday, December 06, 2009

West Side Story

Morning started with the infamous Christmas tree and light installation, which was taking longer than expected. I took a peek at Windlines only to see a posting from Scrappy that he was at 1900', which did not make the tree lights any easier.

Finally headed out and grabbed Mad Dog at Waikele. We got out there to find a group of monkeys had headed further west to Makua. Mad Dog and I headed up to Nanakuli launch. We watched Scrappy and Jared disappear over the ridge east of us.

We hiked up to where we were going to launch, and it did not take that long. I thought, why does everyone complain about this hike - it was easy. Chris corrected me right away, and said the wind is strong so we can launch here, whereas usually we launch up there, as he pointed much further up the ridge. It was strong, so while we waited, feeling out the cycles, we did some site clearing.

This was my first time at Nanakuli, but I had already had some thermal flights on the Big Island so I thought I could handle it. I launched first, on a light cycle, and got rocked up quick, but that was as good as it got elevation wise for me. Mad Dog launched and made his way up to the top of Haleakala like a pro, where he soared watching me scramble below him. I twisted and turned, back and forth, up and down, and tried several times to stay in the small thermals, but I never got over 1100'. I had 2 minor wing foldovers which were responsible for one of my 1100' to 600' drops. This was definitely not cakey ridge lift like I was used to. I would finally start going up and then would fall out of the thermal and go right back down. The downs were not fun - I did not like them, not one bit. The ups were fun, except for the swinging, bouncing and lurching. I am not sure how many turns I made or how many times I said oh $#!+!! but it was educational.

Mad Dog came back down from the top and said to follow him to the beach. I would have stayed on the horse longer just for the schooling, but after an hour of that beating I was ready and followed Mad Dog in. I had a great beach landing, after which Scrappy gave me a ride back to my truck. When I got back to the beach, the Makua clan had arrived for some frosties and stories.

It was a great day, and even though I feel like I have been worked over, I can't wait to try it again and again. Congrats to Scrappy & Jared on the XC, and to all the first timers at Makua. Thanks to Mad Dog for the site intro and for witnessing my first REAL thermal workout.

Doug, we know you're reading this, and we are all looking forward to that really big XC - this time you may not be doing it alone.


Rich. said...

Nice story Thom!
Where'd the XC take you Scrappy & who did what @ Makua?

Anonymous said...

Update, Scrappy & Jared made it to Kunia
The Makua gang was Alex, Jim, Ginny, JeffMc, Loren, Cade, Becca. Not sure of the details but Jim said he was up for over 45 minutes.
Mad Dog soared the summit above launch and I just got to see launch alot never left the lower ledges.

If anyone has pictures please add them or send them to Alex for edit. I don't have a camera right now and could not have gotten any shots this day anyway.

Mad Dog said...

Thom you flew great for your first day at Nanakuli, real good in blown apart ratty stuff. The bouncing around never quits it just gets easier to live with. Mahalo's for giving me a lift from Waikele

Waianae Jim said...

Thom, I'd second the "you did great" comment. I never made it out to the beach 'til I flew there 3 or 4 times. You also got lucky with getting to launch so low, usually that spot you mentioned you launched would be near the halfway poing of the hike. Thanks for the story.