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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.

Meeting the pilot

Meeting the pilot

And inspecting the plane

All aboard

All aboard

I climbed in the front seat, preparing for take off

Over the shoulder flying

Over the shoulder flying

The pilot had to look over my shoulder to see the instrument gauges. There are two sets of controls so either seat can fly.

Piper tow plane

Piper tow plane

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.

Preparing to launch

Preparing to launch

The proprietor had to hold up our wingtip so it would not drag when we took off.

Headed out

Headed out

Our runway was a narrow, cracked up asphalt road. We bounced along the ground. And then...

Off into the wild blue wonder

Off into the wild blue wonder

It was a beautiful sunny day for a flight

Off to the mountains

Happy Camper

View from the cockpit

Mountain bound

Headed to Long's Peak

Fall colors showing

Fall colors showing

At the higher elevations, the aspen leaves are turning

Lefthand Canyon

Lefthand Canyon

You can see Gold Lake to the right of the canyon

Gaining altitude

Gaining altitude

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.

Gold Hill

Gold Hill

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.

Gold Lake and Burnt Mountain

Gold Lake and Burnt Mountain

Once we had gotten to 10,500 feet, the Piper towed us back down over Gold Lake

You're gonna feel a bump

You're gonna feel a bump

When I pull the release. Don't worry about it.

Free Gliding over Ward

Free Gliding over Ward

And then, we were free, gliding through the mountain air with no power. Here you see the Ward townsite, with the Aspens aglow.

Back range view

Back range view

Looking up into the Indian Peaks wilderness and the Continental Divide. You can see Lefthand Reservoir and Brainard Lake in the distance

Burnt Mountain view

Burnt Mountain view

You can see the flaming Aspens and the rocky knob at the peak of Burnt Mountain as we fly over.

Eagle Peak view

Eagle Peak view

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.

Cabin view

Cabin view

We flew right over the cabin.

Foothills and Back range

Lake view

Lake view

Another mountain lake I had not seen before.

Foothills view

Foothills view

As we began our descent, we circled over the foothills, looking for elusive thermals that would let us gain altitude.

Houses revealed

Houses revealed

Many of the beautiful homes that sit back from the road become visible from the air.

Headed back down

North Boulder view

Boulder and the Front Range

CU Boulder campus

Campus view

Lining up with the runway

Lining up with the runway

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.

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