Day 3 at Minden

Report for today: better than expected.

Strong north winds and high cirrus clouds left everyone wondering whether we would have a task at all today. After a number of pre-launch amendments—and finally the contestants’ discovery of better-than-expected lift in the Carson Valley—the contest director called the task out over the radio. A 2.5 hour-minimum modified assigned task with one waypoint: Bridgeport, California.

Not so big as compared with previous days, but big enough, or so it seemed at first. We had trouble finding lift in JOY when the task started, and soon we were low over the Wellington Hills. I’d point out where this is, but winding up over “hills” in a land of mountains lets you know that this is a pretty meager situation. We did a lot of sniffing for lift and eventually found something. I got some especially close views of a mountainside. Mike is used to flying close to steep ground thanks to his ridge soaring in central PA, but it is an eye-popping perspective for the neophyte. Anyway, we pulled ourselves out (click to enlarge):

The day went pretty well for us in spite of low expectations. Once we pulled ourselves out the trouble mentioned above, we followed cloud streets down to Mono Lake and around to the east. We did pretty well, and when we last checked, we were up to second place in the overall ranking. Here is where we went (or download KML file):

Mono Lake is becoming a fairly constant feature of our flights to the southeast. Rumor has it that this will change on the next day.

Some photos from along the way on this flight:


We circled with two other gliders over Mount Patterson before heading further south (see also photo at top).


Later now: getting ready to break east toward the northern tip of the White Mountains. Mono Lake on the left of JOY, Sierras on the right. Seems like different weather, though…

Circling just west of the Sierra Crest.

There’s more to come from today’s flight, and yesterday’s. Stay tuned!

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