The day started out with Katie, Randy and myself heading up to Mt. Hood at 7 in the morning. As we neared the Mountain, we found out why I had made a goal of not going on the weekend. There was a line of cars backed up about 5 miles…Not my idea of getting out into the wild, so a quick decision was made after an hour and a half of driving to whip a shitty and head back to grab our kites and rehead back out east to explore unkited territory.
Scooting back to our house, we did some quick research (northwest kite forum) and decided to head to hood river to scope the surrounding area, or more specifically, Mt. Dalles. It was a wild idea to think we would hit all of the variables but, as we left Portland on our second mission of the day, the sunlight appeared! That is a sign in Portland, where the sun barely shines in the winter.
Following the directions led us to a steep climb up a snowy back country gravel road. Luckily, the road was windswept enough to allow Randy’s vw to make it most of the way, with a little help from Katie and I pushing I areas. No car adventure is an adventure without some car difficulty:)
As we approached the summit, the wind had picked up to get me grinning from ear to ear. I hopped out and was running around setting up my kite, by the time I had it launched, the wind had picked up considerably. 20 minutes into my kiting, I with my helmet!!!was being dragged along the ground, dodging rocks reaching for my safety release! My kite had burst its leading edge(envisioning this is probably over the head of most readers) basically my kite broke and I had no way of controlling it other than pulling the safety release and pulling in the kite with one line.
This doesn’t happen often, but with the cold weather, the increase in wind speed, the exposed rocks(i must have hit one with the kite) and the fact that my kite is going on two years old have a lot to do with it breaking!
Luckily for me, Randy had a back up kite which was smaller, and more easily controllable in higher winds. Comparing snowkiting to kiteboarding on water, is apples and oranges. Pushing snow around is much more tiring on your legs, and so Randy and I took turns on his red 9meter Best Waroo. It took a few minutes to adjust to the speed of the kite and retime my jumps, but I eventually got it down and was boosting over the small creek.
I even got to throw in some grabs.
While Randy was riding I was able to give Katie some basic kite flying lessons on the 2meter trainer kite, she picked it up quickly and i hope to get her on a larger kite next time, although she is in Mexico now working with an organic farm.
I am getting my kite back from the repair facility in the next week. A trip to Idaho is in the planning stages. I can’t wait!
See you in the stratosphere!