Saturday, November 05, 2011

Muddy Trail, Brown Water, and Mottled Skies

I was working my one and a half hour job in town, and was just wrapping it up, when my phone chirped with my special pilot ringtone: "Its Time to Fly Get Your Gear and Go!" I answered, "Yes, Mr. President?" My clients looked at me wide-eyed, as though I were talking to the US President. I assured them with a whisper, "No, this President is way more important."

Despite the grim forecast and the clearly unsettled weather all around us, Alex had given the order to trek to Kahana for a flight, so I had to obey. I arrived to find very high clouds, and some sunshine, but not a breath of air on the beach. But nothing can stop a true non-jobber from getting a flight. Both trails were muddy, the bay was brown and the skies were blue with a vog-like hue on the horizon. Maybe it was that massive development over Molokai. Alex was already laid out on east upper launch, waiting for a puff. He got it just as I was hiking up, and he soared high.

I laid out my gear on mid launch, and worked on getting all the debris out of the Aspen from my beach landing on Monday at Makapuu. It took a little while to untangle, and I kicked myself for not doing it in the living room the day before. Finally I was ready, but the wind had died by this time, and was wafting in a bit more northerly. Alex floated down to a perfect top landing at high launch, telling me over the radio, "I can't stay up."

We waited for a bit, and Alex coaxed me up to join him at high launch, where I laid out to be ready when a cycle finally did come. Well, one did come up, but not a good one. I pulled up anyway, and got a sledder to the beach.

Alex waited just a moment longer, for a real cycle. Apparently it filled in nicely right after I landed. I balled up my wing at the LZ, and looked up to see him soaring nice and high. Mad Dog and B-Ray showed up, and we watched as Alex crossed the bay. I guess patience really does pay off. So now it was time to hike again. I looked around, and Ike was no where to be seen; all right, this time I was going with the Sigma! We headed for the north trail. The ropes were a must, and my new boots were now covered in mud.

We watched Alex land back at the LZ as we hiked up. He had to go pick up Logan, but he offered to drive retrieve on his way back.

B-Ray launched and got to 2,100 feet over the Rhino Horn fast, while Mad Dog had to sneak back to Puu Piei to get high. B-Ray was across the bay as I launched, and soon Mad Dog was on his six. It took me a while to get high enough, due to the ever-changing winds that started to clock back from the east. I crossed with no problem, though; love that Sigma. Meanwhile B-Ray and Mad Dog were talking over the radio about going to Maui Doug's kite spot or to Hygienics.

They started their final glides from Kualoa across Kaneohe Bay, just as I was crossing Kaaawa Valley. But while I was benching up at Kualoa, the clouds started rolling in lower than before, and I could no longer see the boys, nor the prospective LZ areas. I opted to head back to Kahana. I did play over the Crouching Lion ridge for quite some time, trying to get a glimpse of Harvey flying the Gin Boomerang, but he had already landed.

I started back for Kahana as Bonnie was hiking up. I told her I would wait and fly with her, but I had been up for a while, and flying is a lot of 'work' for my poor aching back. Finally I just had to land. The clouds were getting lower, and a little more ugly. Bonnie opted to launch and take a direct line to the beach.

Well, on a day that I thought it would not happen, it did. Thanks for the call to arms, Mr. President. Only six pilots squeaked in some flying: four crossed the bay, two continued to Hygienics, and two others flew.

Mother Nature, Mother Nature, please be kind! Because we all just want to say,

It's Time to Fly Get Your Gear and Go!


Alex said...

Thanks for the story, Thom! Another unexpected short but sweet window. A little gift from our mistress, Mother Nature. I think that's just how this winter is gonna work. We gotta stay lean and ready to roll at a moment's notice! Of course non-jobbers have a little advantage in the staying lean and ready to roll area.

If you or Mad Dog or Ray took any pictures on your trips uprange, I would love to see them, and I'll link them here.

Thom said...

No did not take any pictures, should have but I was alone, again.

The last picture was great with Logan eating from his troth.

Thanks for the edits and for dinner.

I will be looking through the window waiting to open it at a moments notice.