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Soaring Dreams

I was dozing in the passenger seat on the drive back home, and my wife woke me to point out an unusual sight: we were travelling parallel with a ridge of southern Berkshire Hills and above the ridge was what I can only call a swarm of paragliders and hang gliders, colorful fabric envelopes and wings circling and wafting over the green treetops. We saw flyers soaring on thermals, launching from a mountaintop clearing, and sailing down to land in rich fields in the valley below.

For a long time I've been interested in trying paraplanes—like ultralights with parasails for wings. I thought if I was going to bolt together my own aircraft it would be comforting to always have an open parachute above me. More recently I've thought that maybe a trike-style ultralight would be a smarter thing to fly, and I made motions toward trying this on both of our Hawai`i trips. But boy, those gliders over the ridge made soft wings look fun. I don't think I could bring myself to run off a cliff in a hang glider, but I might manage a hillside paraglider launch.

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of the thermal riders; didn't think my 3x zoom was sufficient to bother and I wasn't fully awake. But I've done a little online research to determine that they were flying over Mount Brace, near the Dutchess/Columbia county line (that's New York State), and I've tracked down a couple of sites with pictures: Wierck's Paragliding Site: Brace Mountain and P&K Industries/Fly New York/Mt. Brace Outdoor Club - I think we caught the tail end of their Fly-in!


what a treat!

Indeed. If you try it, be sure to take your digital camera!

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