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From launch to the Sespe headwaters west of 33 / ~ 7 miles
Back to Haddock Peak / ~ 11 miles
Back to Rayes Peak / ~ 2 miles
Glide out to the south end of Oak View / ~ 17 miles
Glide back to Nordhoff HS / ~ 5 mi
~ 42 miles total
Great day for a Season Opener. Due to the light rains this season, the Forest Service got the gate boulders moved earlier than in recent years.
We had big fat smooth up cycles when we arrive at launch about10:20, but by the time I was hooked in ready to pull up it had died off to light & variable. We could still hear thermals drawing over in the trees on the main spine, but most of the cycles at launch were cross from the left. I tried a reverse pull up, but the canopy didn't load well in the thin air. Tried to run backward to load it, but stumbled and turned around. Never quite caught up and ended up in the brush. With plenty of assistance, we had the gear extracted and back on launch in 5 minutes. Airborne with a frontal about 11:20
The air in front of launch was buoyant, but felt inconsistent. Left for the main spine a little over, looking for something more dependable. Encountered NW on the way over. Gun shy about potential lee side action, I turned out toward the river and didn't challenge. A little before The Knob, the drift changed from NW to SE, so I made a 90 and got up on the spine. It felt like I was out in front of the action, but too low to look uphill so I looked out at the point of The Knob. Found some east wind, but no thermals.
Continued down the spine with a lot of crab angel, trying to hold it. Turned for a couple of small cores, but nothing to latch on to. Making the road was starting to look doubtful, so I left the spine and fell off with the drift. I was eying a small clearing next to the trail, hoping the down wind run would take me to a convergence. Found a snaking core about 58. Climbing through 65, I was antsy to run for something better, but with the drift shifting around, I figured I was in a convergence zone and opted to stay with it. Up higher the drift became more north, and the climb got progressively better. Stepped upwind a couple of times and topped about 13 six.
With the NW wind above it was tempting to run for Ojai, but I figured it would be a dead end, and the day was still young. Tom P, and Jim Macklow were climbing over launch, so I pressed upwind. They took the drift and opted for the easy glide out. Diable marked a good core near launch. He topped a bit higher and went NE. I went west toward some pulsing cloud action west of 33. If I could connect to cloudbase over there, I'd have the glide to the beach.
The cloud would dissipate and reform. The flow was progressively from the NW and I came in a little SE of the best line. Found a seam and dolphined toward what I thought was the trigger zone, but was just a little short on altitude. I sensed that if I went just a little further it would work, but I was down below 9, and didn't want to flush, so I turned back for the down wind run toward Wolf's Grill. Dolphined across the front hills. Down to the lower 7s. Found workable action just before the main spine.
Got on the main spine about 1/2 way down and was able to drive up. Easy climb to 10. Tom B was marking the upwind side. Ron Faroro and John had reported good altitude from Rayes, so I tried over there. It worked into the upper 12s. Haddock didn't work as well so I went back to Rayes. Expecting some west wind on the glide out, I thought Pine offered a better line, but the altitude seemed better a Rayes. Topped about 13,700, but didn't have the drift from the north. Took the altitude southbound, but didn't get as good of a glide as the pilots that left with a good tail wind. The extra altitude still got me out there ok.
Held a little crab angle once I got over Ojai Valley. Continued up the river to Oak View. Still had 45 rounding the blue roofed school yard on the south end of town. There was some SW headwind, but not too bad. Probably could have made it around the corner to about the Water Plant, but with the social scene back at Nordhoff HS, I used my remaining altitude for a downwind run.
Beautiful day with great scenery. The costal clouds were piling up and spilling over for nice contrast. A few patches of snow on the drive up, and more under the north side trees. Landed kind of early (~1:45?). Might have been able to connect to the Sespe headwaters on a second or third try, but with the thick marine deck, and approach into Summerland or Carpinteria without a GPS seemed iffy.
Stopped at the lake for a view with the B Team. Home at 4:30. Dan showed up with Topa Chase and the bush whackers about 7:15.