Hang Gliding

My sixty new experiences list was off to a good start and I’d been sixty for less than 24 hours. I went fishing in the Chesapeake Bay (#1), I ate at The Great Machipongo Clam Shack (#2), and I attended the premiere stage performance of The JUGS (#3), where I was the recipient of a birthday serenade. Then, to put the proverbial icing on the already perfectly moist, warm, chocolate cake, I went hang gliding (#4)!

The day after my birthday, we drove to Virginia Hang Gliding. The aircraft used to tow the glider a mile high into the sky had been repaired and I was super excited for this first time experience. I tried not to think about the part that had been replaced or the credentials of the mechanic who fixed it!

This is the “plane“ that was used to tow the glider into the sky. It sounded like a giant dragonfly!

There wasn’t a lot of instruction involved and I was soon ready to “board” the glider. There was a remarkably complicated harness to crawl into and it was a bit awkward because my pilot person was already strapped in.

Get ready! Get set! Go!

Taking off was a bit bumpy and loud but it didn’t take long to reach the altitude where we were released. As the plane veered away, the quiet was broken only by some wind rush. The view was incredible! The Atlantic Ocean was on one side of me and the Chesapeake Bay was on the other. The ground was a patchwork quilt that only God could have designed, although I know a few quilters who could come close. After circling in a big loop, the pilot flew us into a thermal updraft where we flew “donuts” in the sky. This was the same type of updraft that birds use when they circle lazily in the sky.

My ground crew took awesome pictures!

At one point, just as we turned into a cloud, the pilot told me that I was going to get to see something that very few people ever experience. In front of me was a perfectly circular rainbow and right in the middle was our shadow. It was breathtaking! I later found out that it was called a fire rainbow, an iridescent cloud that occurs when sunlight diffracts off water droplets in the atmosphere. It may be just a few steps beyond normal, but I think God painted that rainbow just for me.

Landing was easy and as the glider skipped across the field, the pilot picked me a flower. When the glider rolled to a stop, I was laughing like the crazy lady I am. It was one of the most incredible adventures of my life. It’s going to be tough to beat when I celebrate seventy in a few years.

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