05 January 2005

Cold flying.

Clouds on the Northern side.The weather is miserable in the valley. Gray low skies, bitter cold, but with plenty of light around, suggesting the sun can't be vey far above. We decide to go and fly from Le Couteau, on the way to Très-le-Mont. As we pass the village of Les Favrats, we emerge from the cloud layer into the sunshine. We drive to the parking at the pass of "Le Col du Feu" and have to leave the car, as the road hasn't been cleared. In winter, the snow-plows don't go higher as there are no permanent residents further up on the road.
The walk to Le Couteau takes us a small half hour. The effort is well worth it, as we are greeted by a beautiful view on the valley filled with clouds and the sun shining above. The cloud layer looks like a gigantic mattress of white, shiny cotton. I'd love to jump on it... Wait, we fly on the stuff...

We wait around for a while to see if the clouds will dissipate, but it seems very stable and we decide to fly in the other direction, into "La Vallée Verte", and land in Lullin. This is going to be Maryse's first flight, and she's a bit nervous. There are a few people gathered today, the weather is seldom as good these days, and a lot of the paragliding community enjoy this specific place.
Alex and Maryse ready to take off
Time is marching, though, and the bottom of the valley is already in the shadows. Alex and Maryse take off, followed by Hervé.Hervé taking off I quickly unfold my glider on the left-hand side while Aurélie takes off, and I soon join her in the air. We can feel it's winter. I've forgotten my gloves and wollen cap, and the temperature is well below freezing.
Aurelie in flight
Mercifully, it's going to be a short flight. We enjoy the too brief pleasure of flying into the dying light of the setting sun, and it's time to look for the landing spot, near the "Gendarmerie" station on the edge of the village. There is absolutely no wind, so the approach is easy and smooth. Coming in to land The short but pretty flight ends quietly, in time too: my hands won't hold the controls anymore, and I have to keep them in my pockets for a while before I'm able to undo my harness buckles and fold my wing away.
Self - Getting a bit cold
It's now time to go back to the pass, where our cars are parked, and I'm lucky to get a lift with a local (actually, the daughter of Orcier's Mayor, who invited us to the New Year Mayoral cocktail tonight) and I arrive at the pass just in time to enjoy the sun setting on the Billiat and Dent d'Oche.
Sunset on


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