at Miller Peak 2-25-06
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|Launch is in the Huachuca Mountains at 7,600 ft. elevation, just southwest of Sierra Vista. The landing area is an hour's drive east from Patagonia, near the foot of the mountains at 4,780 ft. elevation, and the launch is an additional half hour's drive up the mountain. We typically take off in the morning when the winds tend to be out of the east and the slopes have been facing the sun (creating thermals - rising air columns). But on this particular day, the winds teased us all morning, with only occasional puffs of wind that were barely enough to get off the ground. Each of the five of us paraglider pilots (There were also five hang glider pilots, but they use a different launch about a quarter mile away) waited and waited one at a time for a sufficient cycle of wind. I was last to take off at 1:25pm and was rewarded for my patience. By that time, all but one of the others had succcumbed to gravity and landed. I flew for an hour and 42 minutes, finding one thermal after another and going up and down mostly between 6,000 and 8,000 feet above sea level. During the first hour it was so turbulent I did not risk taking a hand off the control lines to grab my camera and take pictures, but eventually it got quite smooth and I could steer just by weight shift and some help with the left hand on the left brake. The lift had also become more and more widespread, so it required less concentration to remain mostly in rising air. You can read all the flight reports for the day on our pilot message board here.|
My knees along the bottom, view down toward landing area. The highway from left to right is 92, and the intersection with the other major road on the right is "Nicksville."
View to the south
My friend Morey, who is "biwingual" (flies both hang gliders and paragliders) and was the only other pilot still in the air, can be seen above the horizon, flying over the
landing area. Sometimes he was higher, as at this moment, and at other times I was higher. After we had landed he thanked me for showing him where all the thermals were.
View NNE toward Sierra Vista.
View North toward Sierra Vista and Fort Huachuca.
View west of the mountains. The road that zig-zags up the mountain is Carr Canyon Road, which we take to get up to launch, and it is the only access road
for the higher elevations of the Huachucas. Launch is just off the left side of this photo. Sorry, I didn't have time to compose it better.
View to the southwest. The highest peaks are Miller Peak on the left and Carr Peak on the right, elevation 9466 and 9220 feet respectively.
The PG launch just off the right edge of this photo, and the HG launch is just beyond the cliffs on the right, facing southeast.
View to the southeast. The farther mountains on the left and the farthest mountains on the right are in Mexico.
View down to the landing area. I've shaded a rectangular area and annotated this photo to show exactly where the landing area is. There is a vehicle parked
near the upper left corner of that shaded area, probably the truck of one of the pilots who had landed. The buildings a little closer to me are all private homes.
One last shot looking northeast. The landing area is behind my knee, and the congested area on the right side is an auto wreckyard.