Days 1 thru 6 Update!

Even with windy non-flyable weather conditions, I’m having a great time! The wind has been moderate to strong from the north most days, so the majority of progress has been made by foot. Here is a recap of what has happened in the past 6 days-

 

Game on!! And so the adventure begins…Sunset start from the coast, hiking my way towards the peaks now. Adventure is guaranteed, the time is now.
Photo: Game on!! And so the adventure begins...</p><br />
<p>Sunset start from the coast, hiking my way towards the peaks now. Adventure is guaranteed, the time is now.

Day 1:

I started out from Ventura on day one, leaving in the dark after having a grand final dinner with Peter. I really wanted to get the adventure started, and did not want to wait until the next morning.

When Peter said he wanted to take me for a big meal before my trip, he wasn’t joking!All of this will be burned up on the trails in no time!
Photo: When Peter said he wanted to take me for a big meal before my trip, he wasn't joking!</p><br />
<p>All of this will be burned up on the trails in no time!

After a big steak, I started walking. I hiked out of town,  and camped halfway between Ventura and Ojai after a good few hours of night hiking.

 

Day 2:

I woke up and got out early, as I needed to get past Ojai and to the NutHouse launch. I had another 10 miles or so to get to launch, and had already hiked 8 miles last night. I made quick progress, and even got to meet up with O.J., Robby, and Peter at different times during the morning hike. They were all watching me on live tracking, and had dropped by to say hi. O.J. took off, and both Robby and Peter came up to launch with me.

Robby laughed at me when he asked how the hell I was gonna fit all this crap in my little pod harness, as I replied that I had no idea since I never did a practice pack/hang with the full kit. I knew it would all fit no problem, but because I was diving deep into the Sespe area, I had 12 liters of water and 4 days of food on board. I was over loading the glider by a solid 10kg’s, and even had to tie the pack on the outside of the pod!

Time to go!
Photo: Time to go!

Launch went well, except I started bombing out right off the bat. I was trying my best to find the tiniest bit of lift to surf up, but it was slim pickings. The vertical drop of the launch above the level of the ‘LZ’ is maybe 1,500 feet if that, so there is not much time to find a thermal. I lost over half of this altitude before hooking into a nice little something, and I took it up over the summit as they cheered me on from below. The link to the ground had been broken, I had climbed out. I pointed down range and started flying XC.

I did not get too far until I had to make a choice as passed Nordoff Peak and approached Chief Peak. The route I wanted to take was the next range to the north, the Sespe Range, and continuing towards Santa Paula was not option #1. As I approached the top of the Chief, I had to either top land and hike down the backside, or get blown over and take the tail wind  to the next range or LZ. The wind was strong on top, and I was just above summit level. I was too close to the peak to turn tail and run, the rotor would get me. So I top landed in strong wind, and started hiking down the shorter back side.

Great flight yesterday, epic trail-less cross country hiking over the Sespe Crest today. All smiles, pushing on.From yesterday’s flight from Ojai-
Photo: Great flight yesterday, epic trail-less cross country hiking over the Sespe Crest today. All smiles, pushing on. </p><br />
<p>From yesterday's flight from Ojai-

Sometimes in vol biv you must not think only like an XC pilot, you must take into account the overall strategy of what you are trying to accomplish. In this case, I probably could have continued heading east, but I needed to go north. If I had not top landed and gotten low, I would of had to land on the south side of the peaks somewhere. That would mean a grueling hike up over the peaks, and wasted time. So I chose the best course of action to me at the time, and landed on the summit.

(From my website post)
First flight went well, and I just top landed! I flew less that ten miles, but it was getting much windier, so I landed on the summit so that I could continue on foot. I will probably try to fly again once the afternoon wind decreases, but for now it’s all smiles and back to foot travel.Map-https://share.delorme.com/DaveTurner

Photo: First flight went well, and I just top landed! I flew less that ten miles, but it was getting much windier, so I landed on the summit so that I could continue on foot. I will probably try to fly again once the afternoon wind decreases, but for now it's all smiles and back to foot travel.</p><br />
<p>Map-</p><br />
<p>https://share.delorme.com/DaveTurner

I hiked down the backside after pouring out most of my water, and made my way towards the wild and scenic Sespe area. As I approached a campsite for the night, another friend had tracked me down by my GPS live track. Theo lives very nearby this area, and had come to say hi. He ended up camping with me, and seeing me off the next morning.

From Theo-

Ran into this guy yesterday after i checked the tracker and noticed he was 5 minutes down the the road from my house. I drove on down and we chilled at Middle Lion Campground for the night. Here he is about to set off on foot into the Sespe headed for bigger mountains and smaller bushes. Good luck dave! Fly high, fly far!
Photo: Ran into this guy yesterday after i checked the tracker and noticed he was 5 minutes down the the road from my house. I drove on down and we chilled at Middle Lion Campground for the night. Here he is about to set off on foot into the Sespe headed for bigger mountains and smaller bushes. Good luck dave! Fly high, fly far!

Day 3:

After a bad start, I got lost for 45 minutes, I was on track and heading deep into the Sespe. This is one of the most remote areas in all of SoCal, absolutely beautiful. The wind was forecasted to be gusty, so I just hiked. And hiked. All the way to a campsite at the base of a hot springs.

 

Last nights campsite-
Dave Turner's photo.
Dave Turner's photo.
Dave Turner's photo.

 

Day 4:

A very difficult day.

After starting out over the giant peak to my north on a trail-less cross country hike, I soon realized that I was in for one hell of a bushwacking adventure! I zigged and zagged my way through the peaks, and crossed directly over the highest peaks. I looked for a suitable launch site, but the wind was not going the way I needed it to, there was nowhere to lay my wing out in the dense brush, and the velocity of the wind was highly questionable for flying! Dang, another day of no flying, so I made my way down the horrible backside on my way to Mutau Flat.

Headed towards that beautiful meadow in the distance, and then down the valley to the right.I have an idea for a launch spot tomorrow, just out of view.
Photo: Headed towards that beautiful meadow in the distance, and then down the valley to the right.</p><br />
<p>I have an idea for a launch spot tomorrow, just out of view.

Once at the Flat, I was rewarded with mountain topography instead of high desert peaks. Big pine trees, cool clear creeks with trout, and granite boulders greeted me. I finally started to feel back at home in the higher peaks. I made my way down the drainage to find a campsite for the night. I instead found giant bear tracks crossing the creeks on the trail in front of me; his giant tracks were still filling back in with water as I passed over them. We camped together, I’m sure.

 

Day 5:

I hiked up Lockwood Creek towards the town of Frazier Park for a resupply on food. I was completely out of rations now, and was hungry. I had brought four days of food, and now was day five. I also got a GPS message from my mom saying that she would meet me at the local market for a quick meet up. So I headed out hiking and found her in town.

We ended up camping and hanging out, and had a great time.

 

Day 6:

We woke up from our nearby campsite, and started the day. She drove ahead in the car, and I hiked my way to meet her at Interstate 5. Here we are now, sitting in the Denny’s after having a big breakfast.

 

Now:

I have now bought more food, and am ready to continue. Motivation is high, but the forecast is not cooperating much. Springtime is generally hit or miss, and right now it seems like more of a ‘miss’. The forecast looks like copious amounts of north wind over the next few days. Whether or not I will be able to get any progress in by air is questionable. But thats ok with me, as it will just make it all the more sweet once I hit the southern Sierra and start chewing up the miles by paraglider travel! I have another 60 or so miles of lower peaks to make it to the southern tip of the Sierra, lets see how it goes….