July 21, Hang Gliding for My Birthday!
What an amazing experience to be able to "fly". I was teasing my family saying that I think they are trying to get rid of me! First my brother has me jump out of a plane last year on my birthday and this year my sister has me jump off a cliff??!! Grace gave me a tandem hang gliding lesson for my birthday this year to celebrate the big "four oh". We drove out to Sylmar where we met the instructor pilot Fred. We packed up all the equipment in his ancient van and drove 45 minutes up the winding mountain dirt road to the top of the mountain, elevation 3540 ft above sea level. After some instruction and a practice run to the edge we were ready to go. "Are you ready to fly?" Fred asked.... and we were off. Wow, it is so beautiful to see a literal "bird's eye" view of the ground. We could see for miles. The flight lasted about 15 minutes. I even got to do my own steering for a little while up there! The feeling you get up there is like that of what I have felt when I dream of flying. It is kind of surreal. After an exciting landing it was all over. Thanks Grace! There are a bunch of pictures here http://chiarapics.spaces.live.com/