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Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm Back

I took a well needed vacation this past week up to the Eastern Sierra. Despite dire weather up there(more an that later), we went up there anyways. I had permits to climb Mt Whitney. We had an awesome time. I got to see some amazing scenery and watch some daredevil feats. The highlight of the trip had to be watching some hang gliders launch from Walt's Point at 9000 feet on the road up to Horseshoe Meadow. These guys were nuts. They were running off a perfectly good cliff. It's just not a natural act, but it was absolutely amazing to watch. Apparently, Walt's Point is the best spot in the world to hang glide for distance. When I asked one of the guys chasing the hang gliders where they were going to land...he deadpanned.."Austin, Nevada". I go..."how far is that"?...."oh about 200 miles from here" he says. Okay. Later on when we were back at the Whitney Campgrounds, I was talking to some hikers that had just came down off the trail. I told them about watching the hang gliders launching off at Walt's Point. They said they saw some hang gliders cruising over Mt Whitney. Simply amazing. Here's a You Tube of a launch at Walt's Point...

Their object after launching is to catch the world famous Owens Valley Thermals and attain an altitude of 12 to 18,000 feet.

As far as the hike...how can I explain it...it was the hardest physical thing I've ever done in my life and I didn't even make it to the top. It was awesome. Bad weather up at the top of the mountain kept us from summiting. I plan to do this hike next year as a day hike when the monsoon season is over. It's just to unpredictable up there in July from all the longtime Whitney people that I spoke with.

In addition to all that, we were up there when the running of the Badwater Ultra Marathon was happening. These guys are wired differently that do this race. They start the race down at Badwater in Death Valley and finish the race up at Whitney Portal. The course is over 135 miles long! I don't know how it is possible for the human body to do something like this, but people do it. I've heard & read about this race over the years, but to actually be up there when it was happening...well, I'll just chalk it up to good ole fashioned luck. I can safely say that I will never attempt doing this in my life, LOL.


  • At 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Zapata, Texas is now the best place for distance, but the Owen's is still a good place for foot launch distance flying. A place in Australia is now better for that.


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