Taking a ride in a glider has been on my bucket list for twenty years. A while ago, Genie told me she wanted to give me a glider ride for my birthday. Once we scheduled a flight, I have to admit I had a few anxious moments thinking about getting in a plane with no engine. I began to realize the limits of my courage.
But, I went ahead, despite my reservations, which did not lessen when I saw the age and condition of the glider. My pilot was a cheerful Brit who had seen the light and moved to Boulder many years ago. I signed up for a full hour, so we could go up into the mountains and fly around our cabin.
Glad I went, it was a wonderful experience. Got a perspective on the mountains it is impossible to get on the ground. Saw lakes I didn't know existed. And, in an added bonus, we got to see the aspen leaves as they were turning their beautiful fall colors. Enjoy.
And inspecting the plane
I climbed in the front seat, preparing for take off
The pilot had to look over my shoulder to see the instrument gauges. There are two sets of controls so either seat can fly.
Our ride into the sky was a converted Piper crop duster, plenty of power to pull. Wasn't too excited to see a tow rope, not a cable, but a rope.
The proprietor had to hold up our wingtip so it would not drag when we took off.
Our runway was a narrow, cracked up asphalt road. We bounced along the ground. And then...
It was a beautiful sunny day for a flight
At the higher elevations, the aspen leaves are turning
You can see Gold Lake to the right of the canyon
It took twenty minutes or so for us to get up over 10,000 feet so we could safely fly over the cabin. My pilot said, "I'm going to take us north for a bit to gain altitude and then we will circle back over your cabin." He then proceeded to swing wide right, like a water skier. Next thing, the tail of the tow plane pulled to the right, and off we went with my pilot guiding the tow plane.
Here you see Gold Hill, an old mining town with a dirt main street and wooden buildings, a real old west town. It nearly burned three years ago in a forest fire that we watched from our front porch.
Once we had gotten to 10,500 feet, the Piper towed us back down over Gold Lake
When I pull the release. Don't worry about it.
And then, we were free, gliding through the mountain air with no power. Here you see the Ward townsite, with the Aspens aglow.
Looking up into the Indian Peaks wilderness and the Continental Divide. You can see Lefthand Reservoir and Brainard Lake in the distance
You can see the flaming Aspens and the rocky knob at the peak of Burnt Mountain as we fly over.
Here is our cabin, sitting on the flank of Eagle Peak. You can see the red colors of the bushes and ground cover where we have done fire mitigation clearing.
We flew right over the cabin.
Another mountain lake I had not seen before.
As we began our descent, we circled over the foothills, looking for elusive thermals that would let us gain altitude.
Many of the beautiful homes that sit back from the road become visible from the air.
Time to go home. We circled a couple of more times, then lined up with the runway for a landing. Got to admit it took a couple of hours for my stomach to come back to earth. What an experience.