Chelan, second task.

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Luke doing a celebratory wingover above Omak, WA.

Today looked much better than yesterday, and a long task was called that played into the south wind forecast to pick up in the afternoon. I had a horrid start, putting me 15 or 20 minutes behind the main group, and I left the Butte and headed across Lake Chelan with only a few other gliders in sight. It was immediately clear that I needed to fly conservatively but quickly if I hoped to finish the task. I was able to make the first turnpoint at 4th of July Peak with a few other gliders around to help mark thermals, but then got pushed back to a ridge north of the course line. I got quite low, but was able to climb back to cloud base before headed towards the next turnpoint. I thought I knew where the next waypoint was located, but proved to myself that I didn’t, falling farther behind as I attempted to work my way across the Columbia River thinking their airport was up on the flats on the other side. Halfway across I figured out my mistake and returned to the west shore to tag the airport. I then re-crossed the river quite low and managed to climb out of a shallow canyon on the east side with a retrieve vehicle ‘stalking’ me the whole way in anticipation of an early landing! I finally established up on the flats, and liked the looks of the cloud street building nicely along the course line above a plateau to the east of the River. I remembered that the task briefing including a warning about looooong retrieve from that plateau, but the cloud street above it made me believe that it would work. It certainly did, and I made goal just after Luke–it turned out we had flown the same course line, me just behind him–for the last two hours of the flight. I set another personal best distance of 114km, landing in Omak, Washington, and spent the better part of 45 minutes trying to land due to widespread glass-off lift that made me wish I wasn’t so ready to land almost six hours in the air!

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Me launching Chelan Butte. Photo by Martina Machackova at Martina Machackova Photography and Design. Thanks for the sweet photo Martina! (check out her Facebook and Instagram pages too!)
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Heading towards 4th of July Peak (one of the little bumps at the turn in the river). Photo by TJ Sopher.
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