Rad Riding Hood Away!
She's finally taken off! OK & away...
This girl cracked the 'action shots' code for me by taking control - once I asked her 'how she wanted to be seen'...
She & her friend were laughing at me & my sling bag - until they discovered there was indeed a camera inside & action to be captured.
On their favorite runs no less.
But these runs encompass the whole side of a mountain, covered in trees that climb to the clouds.
Steep slopes, traverses, ridges to be ridden & a glide through the trees just to get to where they want to begin...
Slightly off the beaten track, such as is the beaten track on the edge of wilderness.
So, I go first & scout for jumps with good landings & good placement - but they shouted down that they were going to hit this jump, stranding me slightly.
Knowing that we'll be coming back close to this way again makes hiking back up the mountain in this instance a bit of a waste of energy. And there's always something else to jump along the way.
But getting back to the same jump later is not as easy as it sounds - after 4 seasons, I'm still learning new runs & names all the time. There's 4200 acres of terrain here, so it's easy to spend a lot of time wondering where it is that you are.
A wrong turn of minimal proportions coming through 1000s of slope-side trees will throw you way off course. We did try though, going back for 3 of these runs - but each one was very different.
On this jump, I was lower when I got a shout as she began her run into the kick-off point on the jump, about 50 meters/yards.
She had good speed hitting the kicker, but in a very controlled manner, adjusting to hit the jump in the right way to make her landing stick.
The moment when you are at the very peak of your leap off the earth - arcing up before you start the drop... Levitating, for a flickering flash of time...
Leaving you with the most incredible sensation of knowledge, your heart is pumping pure exhilaration.
Everything is incredibly possible & impossible.
And you'll probably need a plastic surgeon to extricate the dopey grin from your dial...
It might not look like much, facing down a mountain on a sheet of plastic, at high speed & then jumping off rocks or stumps or tree trunks - all downwards & against the human grain...
But this is the very moment for which we do it - catching that air.