Luckily today didn’t require an early start as I didn’t have to be at the paragliding place until 9.15 so I was pretty much awake before I got there, which was definitely a good thing. I met with Graham, the guy who I was going to be strapped to for half an hour above the mountains, and we chatted while waiting for the Jeep. By the way, if you’re ever in Pokhara and fancy seeing it from the air, I can totally recommend Frontiers, they’re really professional and safe, but also lots of fun.
The Jeep arrived we all piled in (and on) and headed up to Sarangkot. We had to get out and walk for a bit and then catch another Jeep further up because the road was being “repaired”, and the short walk up the steep hill reminded me of just how unfit I am. We eventually arrived at the launch site, on the crest of the hill and I was astounded by not only the view, but the sheer altitude. We were 1500m above sea level and could see for miles, and even the snow capped mountains of Annapurna were visible above the clouds. My heart rate was easily at 140bpm when I was strapped in and briefed on the takeoff, it was terrifyingly exciting being told that in a couple of minutes we’d be running off the edge of the mountain.
And then it was time to run, and I’ll admit to being a tad apprehensive, but it was actually really easy: you walk forward a few steps, the wing inflates and tries to drag you back, so you run a few steps until your toes are no longer in contact with the ground and then you’re flying. It was so peaceful in the air, there were vultures and eagles flying around us and the scenery was amazing. We still had loads of height while we were above the lake, so I got to experience some acrobatics- the g-force of a descending spiral is immense, and you feel really light headed when you flatten out afterwards, it was amazing. And then we landed next to the lake, and it was all over.
I went into Lakeside after we finished and chilled out in a bar for a bit before returning home to do some laundry- it’s a great way to ensure your adrenaline levels are back down to normal. Then we went back to Lakeside for dinner and chilled out for a bit, enjoying the free wifi. There’s no way the afternoon could have topped the morning so I didn’t even try.