I left after PK at 12:40 with 11.2 K, and 01Q shortly after. We met again at the Pontius area “hanging” around trying to get “high”. I got there 6.2 left at 7.6, moving towards Cache Creek, on the ridge at 8.7, enough for Kelso. Got down to 1700’ above the airport, while 01Q reported good lift to the W out of my reach. Moving W just S of the runway, a week thermal lifted me high enough to get to the mountain ridge, found more of that good stuff, then rode an invisible “wild Bronco” to 10.8 K. I think that was the top or it finally threw me off.
Flying along the plateau towards Inyokern, reached Walker Pass at 10.5 K, and finally Cinder cone at 12.4. Bouncing along the Sierra, catching gusty hard to center thermals here and there, passed Olancha Pk at 10.7, and down to 9 K at the Switchbacks. Not so good crossing to the Inyos, I found some lift that helped to connect a little N of the “T” at 8 K and made it onto the top at 14 K. At Mazurka 11-15.7 K, now that’s better.
Some clouds up ahead, passing White Mt. Pk at 16.7 K, Boundary Pk 17.5, Time 17:50. Hawthorne direction, clouds stopped after Marietta dry Lake, very hazy or smoke after that. There was a large blue hole over Mono Lake, and some clouds at Gabbs with the predicted huge OD in the Austin area. So I declared Gabbs and mentioned not trying for Austin as it looked to menacing. That got cheers from the crews, and I landed at 18:50. Flight time 7.1 hrs. Barry landed 1⁄2 hr later.
Setting up camp, we had gliders in the box before dark, dinner with all the trimmings under the stars. An other successful adventure for the H301 team.
After a couple months of absence from flying, it was good to be back in the saddle although for a relatively short flight. Weather predictions were not the greatest but nevertheless I was eager to get back to flying. I launched just before noon and was followed shortly by C3 (Karl) and 01Q (Barry), thank you Chris for getting us out promptly.
Forecast predictions were true, as we struggled for about an hour in the San Gabriel’s, finally leaving the mountain at 11 K. Got very low by Backus, and the low grind continued to Cache Peak behind the Three Sisters. Karl and Barry opted to take a chance and push into Kelso, but after not finding much at Cache Peak I turned tail toward the Barren Ridge, calling Cantil as an alternate, and the slow, low crawl continued all the way to Boomer.
I heard Karl very low by Kelso, and Barry not much better, so they had their hands full too but managed to pull it off and arrived higher then me at Boomer, at about the same time. So they were in a little better shape. After some struggle I did climb to 11.5 K by Owens Peak and continued northbound.
Got to the Lone Pine area about 8k but found very little to work over foothills of the Inyos. To be honest my concentration level by now was shot due to the low grind in the heat, as well asbeing under the weather for a while took it’s toll on my energy level too I guess. Landed at Lone Pine, and while de-rigging I realized just how much out of shape I was. Thanks to Sean for the assistance.