2nd Annual Lost Stirrup Lodge 2004
High Altitude Fly-in



By July 1st everything at Lost Stirrup Lodge was ready for the 2nd Annual High Altitude PPG Fly-in.



Thirty-six guests arrived at the lodge this year.  By Thursday evening, the grounds around the lodge began to look like a KOA campground.  There were eight RV's and accommodations at the lodge were completely full, including the crafts shed which had been converted into a bungalow for David and Shirley Cook.


Host, Bubba, and good friend, Mike Thompson, met some of the guests on horseback as the grounds around the lodge filled up with guests and powered paragliding paraphernalia.



We were fortunate this year to have two launch areas.  The new one was provided by the Stirrup Ranch just a few miles East of the lodge.  One hundred and sixty acres of high plains, ground fed native grass at the foot of Waugh Mountain.  The perfect LZ.  The view from both the ground and the air was too perfect to describe.  I've never seen a more beautiful place to fly.


The foothills around the LZ were like green velvet beneath a perfect baby blue sky.  We were blessed with a light breeze and perfect weather the entire time.  This made launching at over 9000 feet much easier.  Not a single pilot failed to fly, although some had to work extra hard to get into the air.  Once in the air, the earth slowly fell away and revealed an incredible view of both the Sangre De Christo and Collegiate Mountain ranges!


Both foot launch and trike PPG's were flown.  I have a sneaking suspicion the trikes had the edge.  At this altitude, running to foot launch can take everything you have.  Still, not a single pilot failed to experience the satisfaction of completing a launch here.



During the middle of each day, the guests made sojourns up Waugh Mountain conveyed by Bubba's restored 1946 and 1951 Willys Jeeps to picnic and enjoy each other's company.



It was fun to launch from the Stirrup Ranch and then fly cross-country to Lost Stirrup Lodge.  Several pilots made the trip more than once.  Antelope, coyotes and elk could be seen as they squeaked along the foot hills and popped over the ridge separating Poncha Park and Gribbles Park where the lodge is located.



Flying from the LZ next to the lodge provided a bigger challenge because of the slope of the field.  Last year Bubba and Michelle Daniele from American Flyer were the only ones to accomplish an uphill take-off.  This year, Carl Apodaca and Ray Loomis joined the rank with the help of a nice breeze.  Michelle proudly pointed out though, "I had to launch uphill with NO wind last year!"

Thirteen pilots earned the new Lost Stirrup High Altitude Pilot award this year!

Here's a group shot of most of the guests that attended the fly-in.  Some were obliged to leave early to return to work and other responsibilities before the picture was taken.

Click here
for a video created by Mike Thompson of the fly-in (.wmv format).

Here's a humorous second video of David Cook trying to launch with
less than adequate equipment for 9000 ft.

Stream these videos instead of downloading them by installing Windows Media Player.
Click Here To Download Windows Media Playe for for Windows 98 Second Edition, Me, and 2000

Click here to Download Windows Media Player for XP

Special thanks to Mike and Kelli Thompson for all their help preparing for the fly-in!