Chelan, first task.

The forecast was for strong winds to become stronger, but the task committee called a task they thought would use the forecast well. …turned out that strong winds caused many, many experienced pilots to land short of the first turn point. I got lucky, and was high enough, to sneak into the first turnpoint after getting blown around a bit (backwards at 13km/hr anyone?!), and managed to set a new personal best distance of 92.7km! It was also my longest ever flight time at five hours and 48 minutes. One of the best parts of the flight was landing and talking to a woman who was amazed and thrilled that a woman had flown out of the sky and landed next to her field, and even took a selfie with her at her request! Retrieve took a while–it was difficult to round up 120 pilots scattered over the course line, and those that had been blown well away from it!

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Waiting for retrieve amid the wheat fields.

Chelan Nationals.

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Some of the Enzo 2s headed out across the flats. Wish I could claim ownership of this picture, but I can’t 🙂 Photo by: Brad Gunnuscio

Two weeks after Rat Race it was time to head to Chelan, Washington, to compete at the Chelan Nationals. This competition is known for putting up some big tasks, and rumor had it that they were out to beat the record for the longest, successful competition task, previously set by the Chelan comp back in 2014 and recently broken in Australia at the Manila Open with a 214km task in which only 2 pilots made goal. Chelan certainly delivered, and on July 15th, an amazing 64 pilots made goal in a 224km task! I even got a little mention in XC Magazine’s write up of the task, finishing heartbreakingly close to goal (2.2km short).

Overall, the competition was a success for me; I destroyed my previous best distance flights and learned so much! I’m looking forward to the next opportunity to compete… maybe Mexico in January?! I’m going to create a post for each day to make things more readable and include photos and links to tracklogs–check out these and other flights of mine at the Leonardo Flight Database.

the Rat Race.

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Chasing the gaggle over Ruch, Oregon. Photo by TJ Sopher.

I decided to (finally) go to the Rat Race. It’s an annual paragliding competition held in Ruch, Oregon, and friends have been trying to get me to go since I started paragliding. Sometimes work has gotten in the way, sometimes money (or lack of), but this year, it all worked out. It was my first competition as a paying competitor (I went to one in California last fall and one in Mexico last winter). I’d always just ‘wind tech-ed’ before, which is code for launch early to allow the actual racers to see if the thermals are working yet. My previous experiences mostly resulted in me standing on the ground looking up at the racers flying over my head. I was pretty nervous headed to the Rat Race because I had no idea what it would be like, and was worried that the same scenario would repeat itself, except that I would have paid $600 for the privilege of short flights followed by standing on the ground watching racers fly overhead. In short, I shouldn’t have worried. There were two VERY windy days which resulted in short flights for me, but I also was able to make it to goal on three days!!!!! And, got within 2km of goal on one of the longer tasks, flying 73km, besting my own personal distance by one or two km. A week of flying every day is tougher than it sounds–being alert and focused mentally for one to four hours in the air every day is draining. Overall, I was very happy with the experience, which included 26 hours of flight time, 2nd place in the women’s class and 9th in the sport class! Here are some more pictures from the week:

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Morning hammock time before heading up to launch.
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Sunset from my tent in Ruch at the Crash Pad.
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Flying in to goal at Longsword Vineyard on the last day!
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Local flora.
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Pre-competition rain day made the old trees shine with all kinds of colors!
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Bianca (1st), me (2nd), and Lisa (3rd)! Photo from TJ Sopher, wine from Longsword Vineyard. 🙂

No flying? Bike instead!

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Beautiful! …too bad my mountain biking skills didn’t allow me to ride much of it. Indy, on the other hand, styled everything!

I had the day off and wanted to do a longer bike ride. I found a ride on Rattlesnake Mountain’s logging roads that’s only about 10 miles from Issaquah. I figured it would be pretty quiet since it was a rainy Sunday, and I was right! Until we got onto the more popular north side of the mountain where hiking trails cross the logging roads, we didn’t see anyone! It was supposed to be an 18 mile ride, but the directions weren’t awesome, and I missed a teeny, tiny, unmarked trail in the woods which would have taken us right back to the truck. Instead, we took a trail that led us down a steep hillside on a freeride-style bike trail too steep for me to ride –Indy didn’t seem to mind a bit–and into a separate drainage from where I’d parked the truck. We ended up making another small loop to connect back with our original path to take the trail I’d missed, and ended up with a 21.5 mile ride! Indy seemed unfazed despite the fact I was pretty ready for a nap and some food! Here are some pictures from the day.

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Indy lounging, pre-ride. Good thing she was conserving her energy!
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Part of the epic views we found at the top.
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Salmon berries everywhere!
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Looking back towards Snoqualmie Pass.

 

Mason Lake hike.

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The fog/mist/low clouds offered some really cool light for photos.

No work and a little rain also means no flying. I decided to take Indy up Snoqualmie Pass to explore Ira Springs Trail towards Mason Lake. Even though most of the hike was in the clouds/fog, I still had a good time wandering through the misty forest, and Indy and I made the 6.5 mile round-trip hike to Mason Lake and back. Indy found some snow to roll in, which always makes her happy. It was fun to watch her realize the piles of white stuff was snow and then run to roll and play in it. I’m sure on a clear day the views up there are beautiful, but I still found some pretty things to look at 🙂

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Indy dog in the mist.
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The lovely, and practically invisible, Mason Lake.
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I loved all the different colors in this photo. Indy snuck in there on the left too, which always makes a picture better. 🙂

 

Seattle!

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Hello Seattle! View from the top floor of UW’s admin building where nursing orientation is held.

I’m now in Seattle for a 13 week contract to work in the Cardiothoracic ICU at the University of Washington Medical Center. I’ve chosen to live in Issaquah, about a 30 minute drive east of the city, since it’s much closer to flying and biking/dog walking trails. I’ll be here until June 18, unless I decide to stay a little longer. I’ve been through the ‘classroom’ portion of orientation at the hospital, and Indy and I have started to explore the trails near our house. I’ve also been able to fly a few times at Tiger Mountain. Here are a few pictures from the last week!

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It’s trillium season in the Pacific Northwest!
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Princess Indy.
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View of Mt Ranier from the air over launch at Tiger Mountain.
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Part of Grand Ridge Trail. The trailhead is a five minute walk from where I live!

A Jackson Hole wedding.

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The Snake River with the Teton Range in the backgound.

Yesterday was my friend Emily’s wedding in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She and JB had a Jewish/non-denominational, incredibly beautiful and perfect ceremony and reception at the top of the gondola at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort!  I was responsible for creating the Chuppah structure for a cloth that was hand-dyed by Emily’s step-mother. (Don’t worry, I had to google ‘Chuppah‘ too in order to figure out what I was supposed to make!) The whole weekend was super busy, and I’m going to let the pictures tell the story! They worked with Kijera at Grand Teton Weddings to plan their big day, which ran perfectly on time, including the change from ceremony to dining room while guests had cocktails in the bar! Hannah Hardaway did their photography, and I’ll include some of her beautiful shots here when she gets them to Emily!

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Coffee with Emily at Persephone  in Jackson! I highly recommend you check it out!
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My cousin, Pyper, happens to be doing an internship with TGR. We snuck in a quick one-run ski tour one morning!
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His and hers custom wedding bands that reflect JB and Emily’s love for the mountains.
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I got to wear my cowboy boots to the wedding. Gotta love a Jackson Hole wedding!
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Skiing Jackson Hole’s infamous tram. My other favorite way to get my head in the clouds. 🙂
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Pre-ceremony photos of JB and Emily. Couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for them! (Photo by Hannah Hardaway)
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Beautiful ceremony in a beautiful setting with Jackson Hole mountain in the background. Congrats Emily and JB!