NFR: Never too old for adventure

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Roper, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. Roper Idiot Savant

    Posts: 4,285
    Glenraven Ranch
    Ratings: +770 / 1
    Monday I went paraglidling with a friend of mine who's been flying for over 20 years. Ross provides tandem flights to offset his own costs of the sport. Ross is a friendly, high energy guy with a level head when it comes to paraglidling. I trusted him completely.
    We met at Tiger Mt. landing zone and took a shuttle up logging roads to the launching pad. Once up there I began to wonder about my sanity. 60 year old bones don't heal as fast as younger ones. Ross briefed me on the take off process. All I had to do was run when he said run. Let me tell you, running off the edge of a drop off tends to make you hesitate. Ross charged on pushing me with his chest and in a flash we were airborne.
    Paragliding is as close to soaring like a bird as you can get. It's thrilling to feel the currents and thermals pushing and lifting. We soared around the ridge in figure 8's trying to gain some altitude to no luck but we sustained our level for some time. Soon it was time to head down, Ross had other clients coming that day. On the way down we did some tight corkscrews that really push you into your harness and can make one light headed. What a hoot!
    Landing went fine until it was time for me to run again...I bit the dust but Ross saved the pile up. I guess I don't have the reflexes that I used to. Ross packed up for the next ride and I headed home mixed with emotions and reflection. I realize I'm not the gung-ho guy that used to sky dive and hot rod around on motorcycles. But there's nothing wrong with fishing and hunting, is there?

    Here's a few shots from up in the clouds...

    Ross prepping the wing...


    Airborne and riding the ridges...


    All smiles, really, under that mustache is a smile...


    Sharing the sky...

  2. Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    way cool!
    old guys rule, even though at 60 we're not really old - are we?
  3. Greg Armstrong Active Member

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    Well..... are we?
  4. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 807
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +333 / 5

    I spent a lot of time flying with Ross -- he's a great pilot. You got a flight with one of the best at Tiger for tandems.

    Donna and I flew paragliders for nearly a dozen years before medical issues and risk-aversion (i.e. 1-in-4,000 chance of death per year) prompted us to retire from the sport. My personal best flight is 4.5 hours covering 65 miles. My personal worst resulted in about 12 inches of surgical steel rods holding my right foot together.

    Though it is a sport with relatively high rates of injury (mostly broken backs, compressed vertebrae and shattered pelvises) and death (1:4000 odds per year), it is also an INCREDIBLY fun sport. I have more than 30 air hours flying alongside bald eagles (usually with 20-25 feet of them) and more flying with turkey vultures and red tails.

    NOTE: Parasails are the big round boat-towed parachutes that lift drunks off the beaches of Mexico, etc. PARAGLIDERS are free-flight aircraft that can stay aloft for hours.
    Roper likes this.
  5. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 807
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +333 / 5
    FYI: This is a flight at Fort Ebey on Whidbey Island a few years ago. Whidbey is a lot smoother, more benign type of flight than those at Tiger. Whidbey is 'ridge soaring' -- staying aloft on the winds that, coming in across the waters of the Strait, hit the vertical bluffs of WHidbey Island and lift straight up. Launch off the bluff into those vertical winds and you can soar with the local eagles for hours. At Tiger, the lift is all thermic -- hot air rising from the valley in tight thermal cylinders (i.e. think about dust devils -- those are thermals with a lot of a debris in them. They get wider as they get high and paragliders can turn into them and 'core up' as the hot air spins upward).

    FYI: Ross is one of the other pilots out there with me in the video. I think he is the red wing launching next to me at about 18 seconds in.

    wadin' boot likes this.
  6. Roper Idiot Savant

    Posts: 4,285
    Glenraven Ranch
    Ratings: +770 / 1
    Dan, small world eh? I fixed the text, thanks...
    Dan Nelson likes this.
  7. IveofIone Active Member

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    Yosemite Sam gets Big Air!

    constructeur likes this.
  8. SteveA Gnu to the board

    Posts: 280
    Western WA
    Ratings: +33 / 0
    Very nice. Motorless flight is an experience worth having. My paragliding years were in the early and mid '90s. My longest x-country flights were both in Canada at about 45 and 25 miles. Flew Tiger many times. Also flew Mt Si and a number of of other Cascade peaks. I wouldn't trade those experiences for anything but have occasionally questioned my sanity.

    Finally gave it up due to costs involved and the high level of risk. If you know what you're doing, Tiger is safe, but if you want to keep pushing the limits paragliding can be very high risk. I had a close call near Snoqualmie Pass that left me uninjured but head down on a steep clear cut slope. I love adventure and risk but with age began realizing I don't want to end up in a wheelchair, or worse. I have 3 flying buddies that died in the pursuit.
    Dan Nelson likes this.
  9. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,967
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +706 / 1
    In the 3rd picture it looks like you're repeating to yourself... "just don't look down, whatever you do, don't look down"...either that or "Mommy, I want my mommy". :D. Good stuff, thanks for sharing.
    Roper likes this.
  10. Krusty Active Member

    Posts: 907
    Spokane, WA
    Ratings: +600 / 0
    This was too cool! Thanks for the post, the pics, and more importantly, the inspiration! Yeah, I know it's a trite saying, but 'nobody gets out alive', and you've now got a memory that's far more sustaining than just 'another day at work'.

    I'm still riding motorcycles...I'm older than you, and I've lost, over many years, more than a few friends to MC accidents...and you know...I've never yet met one of their surviving friends, or relatives (even wives) that expressed regret that their loved one had taken up the activity.

    If it doesn't occasionally scare the shit out of you, it probably ain't worth doing...that includes marriage, skydiving, raising kids, and whatever else gets your rocks off.
    Steve Call and Roper like this.
  11. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,601
    Dillon, Mt
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    I wasn't old at 60. But I sure am at 78.
  12. Dan Nelson Hiker, Fisher, Writer, Bum

    Posts: 807
    Puyallup, WA
    Ratings: +333 / 5

    Hehe! Bullsh!7. I know an old widow woman who took her first paragliding flight at 94. Never too old to experience new things!
  13. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,650
    Somewhere on the Coast
    Ratings: +540 / 0
    Hang in there! I used to marvel at the para gliders launching from the cliffs above Makapu'u on Oahu back when I was going to the beach and bodysurfing there. You'll never get me to try it, though. I wasn't born with wings, and I'm not going to argue the point.
    I like getting my kicks closer to terra firma. In the ocean, I stay reasonably close to shore, maybe just in the surf zone.
    Another 63 year-old and myself were surfing here at Westport today. And a couple of dudes around 60 were out there, too.

    At 78, I'll probably have broken down and gotten the latest Go-Pro rig and be filming my tube-rides, or else I'll be online claiming to be old, like OMJ here.
  14. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,396
    Kitsap Peninsula
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    Roper, truly awesome. You are a badass!
  15. MrP Member

    Posts: 499
    Bothell, WA
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    Very cool Roper; good for you!
  16. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,601
    Dillon, Mt
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    Bite me.
    Dan Nelson likes this.
  17. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,485
    Seattle, WA
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    Nice! Thanks, guys. In another lifetime I could see myself there. In my misspent youth it was all climbing. I've settled into fly fishing and a bit of hiking now.
  18. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,601
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,653 / 0
    When I worked at Boeing. I fell in with a group of Parachutists. They almost got me talked into doing that but at the last minute I backed out.. But they sure were fun to drink and party with. Home made Huckleberry and Blackberry wines sure went down good and also gave you a nice hang over.

    I was there for the first flight of the 747. I was almost to hung over to watch it fly for the first time.
  19. Steve Call Active Member

    Posts: 1,553
    Wetside, WA
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    Roper, that's inspirational. I've got a few years on you, but I'm tempted to give it a try.