Thursday, October 15, 2015


Last day at Morningside for the year. I'll hope to return in April.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Textured air

"Textured" is hangspeak for winds that vary rapidly in direction and speed. Not for beginners -- so the instructor helped me run the glider back down the hiĺl.

Fortunately, I have learned enough not to risk flying. Still working on that "never regret choosing not to fly" part, though.

One more day for this year. Senior instructor says it's doubtful.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Rreally old roads

Another ten hour dash along the boundaries of the eastern American megalopolis; in spite of wind shredded cloud layer at sunset, forecast is for good winds tomorrow at Morningside.

My part is done -- I showed up. Almost all the rest is somebody else's problem.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Hawksbill Mountain the hard way ...

... was a bit too much to stuff into the day before I return to Morningside. Great day to be out hiking, though.

More trail, no more time

I might be able to try again on Sunday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Annapolis Rocks

Impulse hike with Ted Conwell's merry band of truthsayers to Annapolis Rocks, an easy 2 mile walk on the AT to a great vista.

Unhappily, a UK visitor hiking the trail let his enthusiastic efforts to photograph the view overcome his common sense regarding steep cliffs. It might not have made much difference, but he got a full turnout of volunteer and professional help including the AT ridge runner, a Maryland Parks rescue crew, the Myersville Fire Department, an off duty EMT, a wilderness first aid certified hiker, an ER certified nurse, and two medevac helicopters.

We stayed out of the way, ate lunch sitting on another rock overlook further north, and reminded each other to appreciate every day.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Whether to suffer the storms and winds of outrageous weather ...

 ... or, not.

Returning to Valhalla Ranch today. I will wait out the rest of this weather cycle, and plan to return on Wednesday.

Also, my sleeping bag got soaked last night.

While back in Virginia, I may try to shoehorn in a walk to the top of Hawksbill Mountain, highest point im the Shenandoahs. Reportedly, it is not a very inspiring climb, just one of those check-off "yeah, did that" hikes.

As one of my instructors says, "Never regret deciding not to fly, or you may regret flying." So, I won't -- but I'll plan to be back.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Everywhere, beauty

Lye Brook Falls, Manchester VT. If you haven't already jumped up to grab you boots and head this way, I'm a poor photographer. Which is true.

Lye Brook Falls

    Lye Brook Falls stone

Morning fog in Vermont valleys

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Making lemonade

Veteran kibitzer J. B. says, "See, there's the wind coming up now." Yup, from the north. Winds rotating clockwise around the high flowing out to follow Joaquin's departure. If the high had only tracked a little further south ...

Tomorrow's forecast, rain. This weekend, fly-in party! With little room for novice flying,  but, at least interesting people.

In the meantime, though -- if there's no wind for flying, I'll go hiking. Headed out to explore the Lye Brook Falls in the Green Mountains.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

These are not good atmospheric conditions for hang gliding.

Foggy morning cleared up after a couple of hours, leaving zero wind. Set up the glider and hope? Well, maybe some practice runs..

Five sled runs down the slope making old mistakes -- then on the sixth, air! Then, the wind finally picked up and swung hard north, out of bounds -- field closed. Sigh. 

Old roads, been here before.

Old acquaintances, as well. A favorite instructor from the Kitty Hawk site is now teaching novice paragliding pilots at Morningside and vowing never to go back. Never?

I learned my lesson on that years ago. The hubris of  saying "never" raises to near certainity the odds of "soon, and for a long, long time" ... call it the Jonah and the Whale Effect.

Afternoon update: full north at the 450, light westerly gusts over the LZ, steady south in between. All unwelcome for pilots who want to fly another day. I do.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Driving to New Hampshire, wings on my mind

182888 on the odometer crossing the Potomac norrthbound. Old destination, different roads. Weather looks perfect for flying; reasonably good for driving, too, but ... maybe Wednesday's winds will be the same?

The All American Annual Autumn Roadway Renovation & Repair Race made the trip a little more challenging -- winter arriving again before we really get to work on these urgent problems, why does this happen every year? Good thing the crew is always willing to do some overtime ...

Morningside, 645 miles later. Full starfield, moonless niģht. Life is good.

Northbound -- and some more pix of Norfolk flooding

Heading north today, leaving Valhalla Ranch behind again. Dogs are reportedly doing well, enjoying Florida.

Excellent winds forecast at Morningside -- while I am driving there. Less good tomorrow ... but it all depends on the coastal storm that was Hurricane Joaquin.

Here's a couple more photos of flooding from my mother-in-law's balcony; she and I agree, it must be upsetting for the owners of these multimillion dollar homes ... but before anyone starts thinking about global warming, this sort of flooding is more or less normal in the Norfolk area. One drives with care after rainstorms.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Redirecting, following the storm north

Movie date at the Naro Theatre again with a close friend of many years. She and I enjoyed "Pawn Sacrifice" the film about Bobby Fischer's battle for the world grand chessmaster title and for his own sanity. Therese and I agreed later that few of our friends would have appreciated the film as much as we did.

Easy for both of us to understand why her second daughter's marriage was so strong.

Skies look promising as the hurricane moves north. After consultation with  my brother-in-law, I have agreed to return in a few weeks to offer moral support.

Tomorrow, north to Valhalla Ranch, laundry, and other preparations to head north on Tuesday. Next post should be after my first flying day on Wednesday.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Familiar roads again this weekend

Viewing Joaquin's progress today from a hotel in Williamsburg after driving a familiar track to Ropers Church Road and walking a familiar path into Makemie Woods.

 Onward tomorrow to Norfolk, bearing gifts from the Henmistress of Valhalla!

Whence I will brave flooded streets to reach the high tower where a fair lady waits with a bottle of wine ... and as we have before, my mother-in-law and I will sit back on her 10th floor porch and discover the Truth in all of the world's joys and woes. Or ours, at least.

New England winds are turning to a good heading, but that hurricane is still trying to get in my way; also, the fields are reportedly a bit wet, not so good for sure-footed landings. I plan to swim those puddles when I get there.