This past Sunday Mrs. LANMonkey sprung a surprise on me - it was one of those "bucket list" items for me that it turns out she's been arranging for about a year, and she was able to turn it into a Father's Day gift that I'll never forget.
Sunday morning we got up bright and early, and headed East up the Fraser Valley. As we neared the town of Hope, she routed me off the highway and eventually we ended up at the quaint Hope Regional Airpark. Now my curiosity was really up!
Well, then we walked into the clubhouse for the Vancouver Soaring Association and I knew what was going on - and my excitement continued to grow!
The folks who run the association are friendly and professional - they take the safety of their hobby very seriously, but are so welcoming to anyone who wants to learn more about gliding (or soaring, choose your term!) and go for a birds-eye tour of the area.
After the safety briefing, and some orientation, we helped get the gliders down to the end of the field, and folks started getting pulled up by the tow plane.
After waiting patiently for a chance, it was finally my turn!
Into the cockpit I climbed with my expert pilot who had cinched me up safely with the parachute and then down snugly into the front seat of the cockpit. A few quick photos, and before you know it we were being pulled along the grass airfield and we were aloft!
The tow plane climbed us up to ~2,500 feet at which point we released, and then circled around above Hope before heading East to check out the entrance to the Coquihalla area, and catch some updrafts and gain more altitude.
The sensation of gently spiraling upwards in such a tiny aircraft is at once exhilarating and just a little unnerving, but the confidence and expertise of the pilot helped me relax and enjoy it.
Here are some of the photos I took during the amazing ride, before we glided back in for a landing. If you are interested in trying out gliding/soaring, I strongly recommend you check out the Vancouver Soaring Association's Intro Flight - a reasonable price for an unforgettable experience.
And once we wrapped up at the VSA clubhouse, we checked out some of the Geocaching around Hope. Turns out, the town loves encouraging the hobby - check out the Geocaching section on their website!
An amazing day, and I am so thankful to Mrs. LANMonkey and the great people at the VSA for an awesome day!