Paragliding! (9.22.09)

Paragliding… there aren’t enough words. On Monday, I decided that I would do it the next day… so Tuesday morning, I got up and went downstairs for breakfast and informed the girl working at the front desk that “I would like very much to go paragliding today.” My new friend Kristen had decided that she wanted to go as well, so we made bookings for the both of us, and then wondered how exactly we would occupy the next few hours while we waited for the van to come and pick us up at noon.
Before long, it was 11:45, so we headed downstairs to wait for our ride. Noon passed, and we worried that they weren’t coming, but at about 12:15, we saw our ride. Into the van we climbed, and within minutes, we began our ascent up the mountain from which we would shortly be launching ourselves off of. On the way, we were told to pick out our respective pilots. I chose a Norwegian guy named Anders.
The van parked and we all got out, the pilots each grabbing large packs containing our paraglides. We walked on for five minutes, and found ourselves on the side of the mountain, overlooking all of Interlaken. The pilots began opening up the paraglides and laying them all on the ground, carefully untwisting and organizing the strings. We all geared up, and one by one, the members of our group began to jog down the hill and took flight.
Anders and I were strapped into our glider and he told me that we would begin by walking downhill, and start jogging from there. The wind would pick up our sail and we would quickly be airborne. As you begin to jog, the wind opens the sail, at which point, there is much more resistance and you have to put a lot of energy into continuing down the hill. One leg in front of the other, then the other, then the other, and before I knew it… my legs were still going through the motions but weren’t touching anything solid… we were in the air.
The feeling was… just incredible. One of the first things to cross my mind was “This is why bungee jumping didn’t work out on Sunday.” As I mentioned in my post about my failed attempt at bungee jumping, I really believe that life works itself out the way it does for a reason. I was fairly disappointed on Sunday that I didn’t get to do what I set out to do, but I told myself that perhaps it just wasn’t supposed to work out then and there. And here was my reason. As I soared through the air, feeling like this was the most natural thing in the world, it was clear that I was meant to do this… and I wouldn’t have done it if I had just spent my money bungee jumping.
From our great height, we had a perfect view of lakes Thun and Brienz, as well Jungfrau’s white peaks. As we turned circles in the sky, I could spy our shadow on the ground. I felt so free… Oh, to be a bird. Kristen and I had promised to try and take pictures of each other in flight, which we both did, so thanks to her I have some great pictures of me in flight!
We flew for about 50 minutes, but gosh, it seemed like mere minutes had passed. As we lost height, Anders let me take the controls and taught me how to do a full circle. He took over once more and steered us so that we “were on a rollercoaster.” This means that he made the paraglide rock back and forth, which really did create that light feeling in your stomach, exactly like when you go tearing down the tracks of a rollercoaster. Shortly thereafter, we began to turn to come in for our landing. we landed in a field that remains clear for the sole purpose of being a landing field.
After I was detached from the paraglide, I made my way to the side of the field while Anders packed up our gear. Kristen and I quickly found each other and squealed about the incredible experience we had each just had.

…Let’s just say that I am now sorely tempted to pursue certification.

PICTURES!!

I’ve decided to put the pictures in two groups: the first group are pictures that Kristen and I took while flying, the second are the pictures that Anders took with his fancy camera.

1.launchview

The view from our runway!

2.anderssortingstrings

This is my pilot, Anders, untangling strings. Safety first!

3.gettingready

My paraglide!

4.parachutes

They laid out all of the glides, and one after another, we took off in quick succession.

5.preflight

Kristen and I before takeoff. The gear makes you look 20 times sexier than usual…

6.ktakeoff

One of Kristen’s pictures from immediately after takeoff.

7.kristen2

Here is a picture of Kristen flying

8.klizground

Here is a picture of me in the air! Photo taken by Kristen.

9.mylegmyshadow

My leg, and my shadow!

10.sailing

The view

11.klakenotthun

One of Kristen’s pictures… a spectacular shot of Lake Brienz

12.ktown

Another one of Kristen’s photos. Hello Interlaken!

13.ktwogliders

Another one of Kristen’s pictures. I am in the glider to the left.

14.kliz

Another one of me flying! (Also taken by Kristen)

15.kristen

One of Kristen!

16.klizhellyes

Me again! (Photo by Kristen)

17.kparagliders

Just another shot of the gorgeous scenery… no big deal

18.comingin

Coming in to land.

19.landingview

The view after our landing

20.packinguppackingin

Here is Anders, packing up our paraglide

21.safelanding

Kristen and I after a safe landing! Woo!

OK. And now for part 2:

1

Right before takeoff!

2

Another before takeoff, with our runway view!

3

In flight!

4

The following are all in flight… I see no need to caption them all as such…

5

6

7

8

9

10

OK. I really love this shot.

11

12

13

14

15

16

17

18

Anders and I after a safe landing!

And now, video from mid flight:

Can I go again now, please?

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2 responses to “Paragliding! (9.22.09)

  1. Despite the fact that I’m only viewing this sitting in my desk chair and very safely on the ground… my fear of heights is causing my heart to beat 100x faster!
    No matter, I still love the pictures and your adventure!
    Miss you!

    • Haha, oh gosh! I didn’t mean to get any hearts beating! Well, at least not by paragliding…

      I’m so glad you love the pictures! And extremely flattered really, it’s a huge compliment coming from you!

      I miss you too, love, and I hope you’re having an amazing time in China! I meant it when I said I’d be more than down to join you if I weren’t currently in Europe. Maybe one day we can have a wonderful adventure together!

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