The Retrieve.

Many times, after a cross-country paragliding flight, you land ‘out.’ It might be in a pre-planned LZ, but often it’s any field or open space free of powerlines, fences, and buildings that’s available. Part of the reason flying here in Valle is logistically easy is that there are fields everywhere, and taxis on almost any road a car can drive on! Whether you find your own way back or get a ride with one of the tour groups, the process is called ‘the retrieve.’

Anyway, I’m having a good run of landing out in some of the tinier pueblos around Valle. I haven’t had any truly epic walks or expensive taxi rides (although did pay 150 pesos for a 10 minute 4-wheeler ride which was totally worth it to get down out of a valley on a maze of dirt roads). Two days ago I landed in an old cornfield next to a couple horses, donkeys, and a goat, packed my glider, and started walking down the road. I think I walked for about 30 min and was then able to wave down a pickup truck. I got a 5km ride and learned the Spanish word for ‘clown’ from the little girl also riding in the back of the truck, and didn’t pay a single peso even though I offered money. They dropped me off at a main road where I then waited 15 minutes for a taxi which I was able to take ‘collectivo’ (meaning the taxi will pick up and drop off other people along the way and it makes it MUCH cheaper), back to Valle for 15 pesos. Not bad for an hour-long retrieve!

Here are some pictures of what I’ve seen on my retrieve adventures lately:

High in the San Pedro Valley. This retrieve involved 30 minutes of walking, a motorcycle ride with Jose Luis, and a taxi ride for the final stretch, for a total of 100 pesos.
The horses and cow are grazing in the old cut cornstalks in a field in San Simón el Alto. They didn’t seem bothered by my company. This was the truck to taxi retrieve for only 15 pesos.
San Simón el Alto cemetery.
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Beautiful. San Simón el Alto.
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Not a bad spot to spend some time. (San Agustín) Notice the beautiful clouds. Not entirely sure why I wasn’t still flying! 🙂
Yep. This is the road. It took me 75 minutes to walk from San Agustín to Cuadrilla de Dolores where I got picked up by one of the tour groups driving back up to launch for the afternoon flight (50 pesos back to launch).
More of the same road as in the two pictures above. Road building techniques vary widely here. 🙂

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