A great day at Ellenville

Arrived at Ellenville launch yesterday about 2pm, found it blasting NW. Dave and Stan (?) were already on their XC adventure. It being too strong to launch, I decided to hike up to check out Bear Cliff and the new SW launch; in retrospect not a long walk but I wouldn't want to drag a glider up there without a lot more conditioning. Talked to some locals on the rock and had to sit down because of the strong surface wind. Saw a hawk hovering about 50 feet away.

Me at Bear Cliff

Got back to launch around 3:30, Tom Galvin and Chad were set up and getting ready to go. Chad launched about 4 and shot up like a rocket, Tom not long thereafter.

Stepped in some pilot's dog poop which I wasn't too happy about, but I kept my mouth shut and focused on setting up. (got home later with yellow socks, not sure what that's about)

I launched around 5 when it was still somewhat strong but had calmed down (direction was very consistent). Good launch; went up immediately, textured air but nothing too nasty. Hopped on a couple of express elevators to 4400 feet msl. Felt a bit of vertigo on the first turn in the core but shook it off and was fine (it's been a while since I've been in a nice strong thermal). The airport by the prison was probably doable. Whizzed by a bald eagle (I think) at my level, going the other way. Strong lift wasn't hard to find, and it wasn't crazy-crowded like it sometimes gets. Came in to land at sunset. Some bubbles around 600ft agl. Bled off altitude over the pumpkin patch, had a nice 2-step landing about 20 feet from the bullseye without doing anything stupid down low. Flight time: 2 hours 46 minutes; felt like 30 minutes. I think I've finally fixed my launch and approach problems, just need to repeat it a few times for consistency. Feeling pretty good this will be my first year for XC.