Thursday: Woke up on the beach to find another couple that set up camp near us! Made some breakfast and coffee and started riding. While we were riding we saw 5 other tourists and most were going from San Francisco to Los Angeles or vise versa. In the middle of one of our hills we pulled off on the side of the road and met the coolest couple that just finished a hike! We talked for about an hour on the side of the road haha. They shared delicious strawberries and vegan muffins that were so good we want to make them ourselves! They were awesome.
We got to Ragged Point in no time and there is a trail that has a breath-taking view. If you’re ever driving that way make sure to stop by Ragged Point and walk behind the café. Just a few switchbacks North of Ragged Point is a “town” called Gorda. Really just a general store and gas station. Our campsite was a mile past Gorda and we heard that there were no showers there. Luckily the general store had $6 showers. Once we were fresh and clean we headed to camp.
Joe saw some paragliders over us and started to get really excited! We arrived at the gigantic group site and saw 2 tents pitched. Both guys were flying. It’s only Thursday so most people show up tomorrow and stay for the weekend. As soon as the guys got back we picked up more guys from other campsites and took a group to the top of the hill. We were going up a steep dirt road on the side of this mountain with bunch of guys piled in a pickup truck. It was a sight haha and you wouldn’t believe the view from this road and it was only going to get better. I watched and took pictures as seven guys 1 by 1 ran off this mountain. I drove the truck down after everyone took off and stopped to take more pictures of the guys that were halfway down. Everyone got back in the truck and did another flight! Since I was driving the truck, Bob offered to take me on a tandem flight!! That’s going to be crazy! Tomorrow is supposed to rain so I’m not sure when that will be but I’m excited! We ended the night with beers around the campfire and a beautiful full moon shining through the trees.
Friday: Rain, rain, rain. We were expecting it, but it rained until about four in the afternoon. Not many more people showed up because of the weather. They missed out, because everyone ended up getting two flights in before sunset.
Saturday: A lot more people showed up last night and this morning. Paragliders grabbed their wings and the hang gliders grabbed theirs! We piled into a few cars and headed to Wild Cattle, another launch just a mile north. Wild cattle is about 3000 feet above sea level and takes an hour to drive all the way up. Like I said before I earned myself a tandem ride by driving the truck. It’s always difficult for pilots to find a driver to drive the truck back down. I was up for it of course because I don’t fly. Bob fitted me for a helmet earlier. I was stoked!!
After a long, beautiful ride up the mountain we made it to the launch site where many people were camping. The hang gliders were already getting their wings set up. I watched a few guys run off the mountain, signed my waiver, put on my helmet and harness, and I was ready to go! I wasn’t nervous like I thought I would be. Bob clipped me in and attached the giant wing. He said “Alright when I feel a good cycle we’re going”. I was ready to run! My heart was starting to pound, but I wasn’t really thinking about anything. “Okay run!” and off we go…instantly weightless! It’s AMAZING. This is something not everyone gets to experience. We’re flying up up up in a thermal and soon we’re much higher than where we originally launched. I see Joe below me flying through the trees. We fly out of the thermal and head towards the ocean. Then Bob tells me to take control of the toggles. I steer us right and then left towards the mountains. Then Bob takes control and we have some real fun! He spirals us towards the ground (we are very high up, mom) and it’s an insane feeling. Like how my stomach feels on a rollercoaster when you go straight down. I felt like I was being pushed so hard into my seat and I also felt like we weren’t going to be able to stop haha. With a smooth landing I think it’s safe to say that was one of the coolest things I’ve done! I’m very thankful that Bob took me! 🙂
The rest of the day was relaxing. Everyone hung around camp and took a walk to the beach. Glenn was soaring the ridge near the ocean and we were all having fun watching him. Everyone got another flight just before the sun went down. Then it was party time! Beer, drum circle, campfire, and delicious food! Glen was so awesome and gave us dinner. Cholula tri tip and rice with peas. Joe and I are trying not to eat meat and this weekend was definitely an exception! We can’t turn down great free food!
Sunday: Everyone drove up to Wild Cattle to try to get one last flight in. Apparently people weren’t too sure if the wind was going to be okay, because there were already white caps showing in the ocean. They decided to try anyways! Got to the top of Wild Cattle and a few people launched. Chad radioed from the landing zone and advised that we stop the launches. The wind was super rough down at the LZ and not very safe. The rest of us packed back in the truck and headed back to camp. Almost everyone had left to drive back home. Joe and I were super thankful for all of the food that we were given. Bryan gave us tortillas, granola, and other delicious food!
For the rest of the day Joe and I kind of enjoyed having the giant campsite to ourselves and we definitely used all of the leftover firewood! It was super windy so Joe wasn’t able to get another flight in. He had his hopes up that the wind would die down, but that happened at about 2am!