Karl at the LZ.
The contoured terrain and switchy winds caused the ground handling to be difficult. Thankfully everyone launched without a problem. Once in the air, the flying was quit mellow. Consistently small thermals were rolling up the hill allowing us to easily stay about 500' above launch. After a short while I saw Josh and Karl heading south and gaining some altitude. It looked like fun so I followed. Before I could reach them, I found a thermal that had consistent lift and decided to hook into it. I climbed to 10,500' and noticed Josh and Karl heading my way. I figured they saw the good lift I was in and wanted to pimp my thermal.
I watched as Karl raced right by me. A second later he transmitted on his radio, "That cloud has a lot of suck." That all I needed to hear. I pulled full rope (I figured it would be a good first time to do so), and stuffed the control bar to my thighs. At this point I expected to be diving out of the sky, but I wasn't. I was cruising at 50mph ground speed and slightly climbing. Blue skies were just in front of me and quickly I began to loose altitude. We left the cloud suck and worked our way north. Thermals became nice and smooth. I consistently found 800'/minute up. Before I knew it, the valley below was coming to an end. With storm clouds all around us, Karl and I decided to land. Don was waiting with the truck and Josh landed just a short distance away. We ended our flight in the beautiful Elk Park valley, two hours later and ten miles from launch.
Elk Park and the retrieve.