Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blodget Day

It was Melissa's last day in town before returning to Detroit so we decided it would be fun to climb Shoshone. For those of you who don't know, Shoshone is a 600' granite wall an hour south of Missoula. The approach is about 3 miles and the climb consists of five pitches of 5.8. I brought my camera in order to well document the climb since it was Melissa first time on it. As expected, since I now shoot digital, I went over board and took about 200 pics. Thought you can't get that one good picture if you don't try a lot. Here is what I thought some of the better ones were:

Melissa starting the approach

Our objective; Shoshone (the middle one)

Top of pitch two.

Mel topping out on pitch four.

Top of four.

Melissa nearing the top of the route.

Final moves to the top.

Summit photo

One last photo.

Evening lighting on Nez Perce

Thursday, August 9, 2007

A Good Day With an Old Friend

Jaime is in town for a few days and today she dropped Trigo off so I could spend some time with him. I took him out to Kootenai Canyon so I could go bouldering and then take him for a walk. He sure has mellowed out. While I climbed, he just found a nice spot and laid down. It was nice not to worry about him running off. I once lost him in the canyon for a few hours. When I was finished climbing we went for a walk and checked out the creek. We came across a few people, some with dogs, and he barely even turned his head. I think he was enjoying himself at his old hangout. I sure enjoyed the worry free time spent with him.


Kootenai Creek

Playground in the sky

Yesterday Bill and I met Ron at Tarkio for an evening flight. Conditions looked good for a glass off, but thermals were still cycling up launch late in the day. Bill hooked in, launched, and went straight up. Ron and I followed. The flying was butter smooth and effortless to stay up. I had put the camera on the glider so I raced around trying to get good pics of Ron and Bill. It was like a playground up there. Racing around the mountain with friends, occasionally getting close to one another, I couldn't help but laugh. After two hours we landed. A wonderful way to end the day. Here are what I thought the best shots of the night were.

#1 Circling over Ron

#2 Alberton in the background

#3 Cruising above Bill

#4 Bill in the background

#5 Turning over the Tarkio ranch

#6 Coming in to land

Saturday, August 4, 2007

First Flight

Thursday John and I went to Tarkio for John first flight on his new glider. It is a bit more demanding to fly so we thought it would be wise to wait for conditions to mellow out in the evening. After taking our sweet time to set up, we checked launch and realized the conditions weren't easing up. It wasn't strong, but it wasn't butter smooth either. John hooked in to his wing and approached launch. At this time Ron showed up with his wife Tammy. Ron was concerned about a slight South cross, but cycles were coming straight up launch. When a good lull presented itself, John launched. He flew away from the hill nice and smooth. Suddenly, with about 100' of clearance above the trees, a strong thermal nailed John. This intense blast of air caused John to stall and turn 180 degrees back toward the hill. When he realized he could not correct the stall, he went with it. Pulling the control bar in and diving to regain speed, John turned 90 degrees, avoided the trees, and flew away from the hill. After PIOing for a moment, John regained control and flew the glider nicely across the face of the mountain. When it was time to land, he had a wonderful approach and landing. Right on John. You survived your first flight in the T2.

After waiting sometime for conditions to mellow out more, I finally launched. Thermals were small and punchy, but plentiful enough to allow me to soar for about and hour. I flew with a Red tail hawk for a moment and then landed.

The evening was exciting and I'm thrilled that John flew the glider without causing damage to himself or the glider.

Sunset over Tarkio

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Red Skies above Montana

Kara, Jeff, Josh and I returned from our flying trip to an all too common smell in the valley. Smoke! It's August now and fire season is starting off as expected. After record temps for longer than I care to remember, it was inevitable that something started to burn. It's not just the poor air quality that sucks. The forest service has put restrictions on recreation. Mt Sentinel is closed from 1pm to 1am shutting down our flying and the rivers are closed to fishing after 2pm. I hope more restrictions aren't put in place for the sake of my sanity.

Blue Mtn fire 2003

Yesterday the valley filled in with smoke and I had to find a way out. It wasn't until the evening, but I escaped and went for a flight west of town. I meet up with my buddy Ron and planed on a mellow evening flight. After a week of intense, thought provoking flying, I need something more relaxing. Unfortunately our flight was short, but it was still flying and I had a great time. I soared for a short bit then practiced some steep turns. It was a fabulous way to end an otherwise cruddy day.

A smokey sunset above Tarkio