Monday, June 18, 2012

Recent Weeks: Chirico 2

We did eventually make it to the top. The last leg before the first point is the most difficult. There is a shortcut that cuts a straight line up a clearing to the first ridge. This path gets a lot of sun and is full of loose rocks and few firm footholds. It is the steepest portion of the hike. But it’s also worth it. It cuts about ten minutes off the hike and there are great views on the way up.

At the first ridge a few paragliders were set-up waiting for the wind to catch them and send them off. We rested and ate our lunches while watching the paragliders. A couple took off. The rest opted to keep hiking to the second ridge.

And we did too. We hiked to the second ridge. A short couple of switchbacks, and saw the actual top.

I had never been to the top of the mountain before, only vaguely aware that there was more mountain on previous hikes up. This point was set for the paragliders. There was a large Astroturf runway from which most people launched and there were indicators of windspeed and direction everywhere. Some were stakes with colorful fabric, another was an actual weathervane.

Ciera and I sat at the top for a couple hours. We could see all the way to Seattle. The land stretched out before us magnificently. And the sun poked through. The paragliders filled their colorful wings with air, swung around, and leaped off the edge. And the wind carried them effortlessly. It was a beautiful sight. Every color circled overhead gently riding thermals higher and higher. I sat a little closer to Ciera.

We watched a man and his wife put together a hang glider. My dad used to hang glide, way before I was born. I watched the man assembling the glider and thought about how dangerous the sport looked. It took a long time for the hang-glider to get all of the gear together. Finally the man was ready. He waited for the wind, and raced down the hill. Not five steps later he had taken off and was flying, catching thermals, and hanging with the paragliders.

We descended the mountain with our feet. At the bottom we turned and watched the colors and patterns, still circling high above, for a moment.