Soaring with the Birds – Hang Gliding Lake Okeechobee, FL

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When asked what superpower you would like to have? I think a lot of people say, I would like to fly. I certainly think that with the busy lifestyles that almost all live these days it would ease the grind of the commute or make getting to a travel destination easier. However, there is something better than speed when it comes to flying. This I experienced while soaring with the birds over the orange groves and farmlands surrounding Lake Okeechobee earlier this month.

Had the thought entered my mind to hang glide before? I guess I had toyed with the idea when in the Andes in early 2011, but I decided to ride horses, hike, raft class 4 whitewater rapids, and drink Malbec instead. But, kinda like a bad penny this experience appeared again AND this time I couldn’t miss it.

As Florida’s topography is not hilly without any cliffs, bluffs, or other to jump from, the only option for hang gliding is through towing. After arriving at the small, grass airfield, I was strapped into the tandem rigged hang glider. My instructor and guide was strapped below me in a “body hammock” and I above with my own hammock. Both were equipped with helmets and one parachute to be shared in the case of a hiccup.

Ready to go, we connected our line to the back of an ultralight plane. The plane began to take off; we rolled; and we took off just slightly before the plane as we were much lighter. Little by little the orange groves, trees, and airfield got smaller while our height climbed to 2,500 feet.  At just about ½ mile in the air, we “cut the cord” or released from the ultralight and began to soar on our own. Controlled by just a shift in body weight from side to side was all that was needed to guide the glider. At times a pull or push with both hands would increase or decrease our speed, but once content with the direction and speed, we let go. Yes, mom I did it with NO hands.

See this good time and good story via video below:

Where or What Next?

It’s anybody’s guess, but I can bet it will be either a good time, good story, or both!

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