After 20,000 km of driving and crossing eleven countries, the time had finally come and I was able to go paragliding for the first time. For these two days alone, it has been worth it carrying around the bulky equipment for over four months. At the “Babu Adventure School” in Pokhara I was able to do the paperwork for the necessary permit and paid the entry fee for the flying area. The weather forecast for the next two days was also great, so nothing really stood in the way of flying. After Luca had set off for his upcoming trekking in the direction of Naya Pul, I made my way to Sirkot about 75 km south. Despite the manageable distance, the trip was about to take three hours.
For the last ten kilometers, a gravel road of 800 meters had to be overcome in the evening at eight o’clock in the dark before arriving in the Babu Adventure HQ. As adventurous as the approach was, the location of the resort was so unique. A stone’s throw from the summit, you had a wonderful view of the surrounding valleys and the snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas.
Strengthened with a good deal of tension and a hearty breakfast, the next morning we went to this nearby summit, where a handful of paragliders were already preparing to take off as soon as the wind conditions were right.
Reliable as almost always, the north wind turned around at eleven o’clock to a constant south wind, so that the first pilots could make their way into the air on the south-facing launch site. Since the launch site is extremely short and I have never flown there, I first watched the other pilots in their launches and meanwhile learned about the characteristics of the flight area. When it was time and I put out my umbrella, the excitement rose again quite a bit, just because I haven’t flown for half a year. Luckily everything went smoothly. The first flight was just straight downwind and primarily about getting more security, as well as to learn the specifics of the flight area and the landing field.
At the bottom it was time to pack up the umbrellas and go to the next smaller village to have lunch and wait for the jeep, which would pick me and everyone else who wanted to go again up at around 3:00 pm for a two hours drive back to the camp.
Since the Jeep was a pickup with only 5 seats, it was clear that all additional passengers would either ride on the truck bed or on the roof. Of course, I secured a place on the roof of the vehicle to enjoy the bumpy ride from there.
Since there is only once a day the opportunity to get back up the mountain and this ride was not fast, for a beginner like me only one flight a day was possible.
After a relaxing evening with the other campers, a restful night and this time with a bit more courage in my luggage, I set out for my second flight. The wind at the starting grid was a good deal stronger, but with the help of a flight-experienced local, after all not too big of a problem. Immediately after the start it was already clear that this could be a really long flight today. Due to the extremely good conditions, there were at a few foreseeable points thermals on the mountain, which always carried me almost elevator-like by a few hundred meters up. The view from up there was once again indescribable and after about 1.5 hours I headed for the landing site with a big grin on my face.
It was really wonderful! Back at the camp, I spent the evening sharing our flight experiences with Goma, Babu’s middle-aged sister-in-law and camp manager. The next morning, a great experience richer I made my way back to Pokhara to meet Luca again. The fact that Luca would not come back from Naya Pul even close to being on schedule and 16 hours late was not foreseeable at this time, but that’s a story for another blog .. 😉