A Visit to Hinesburg


My friend ARt flies sometimes at a site called Hinesburg. Access to launch is not that great, it isn’t that high, and the wind direction is kind of fussy, but it’s pretty close to where he lives, which counts for a lot. I had occasion to be up that way on business, and to visit my brother who lives in that area, so I took the opportunity to get a little exercise and see what the site looks like. I jotted down some quick directions as to how to get there (based on a glance at a map and what ARt had told me about where it was), so when I was done with work, I drove the back roads and parked at what looked like a promising spot behind the ridge.

ARt had mentioned something about logging having taken place near the beginning of the hike, and I was parked at a gate that looked like logging equipment had been through recently. I put on my trail running shoes and started out, sure enough, there were a bunch of skidder tracks and other signs of recent lumberjack activity. I wasn’t sure what the recommended route was up to launch, but I figured I could find my way. It was less obvious than I had been hoping, and the only ways I could see to get up the ridge were really steep. This didn’t deter me, although as I was clambering up the loose slope, it occurred to me that ARt is suffering from complete chiropterid fecal insanity. There is no way I would have any interest in dragging flying gear up this hill, it was tough enough just to do it carrying nothing. Disgusted, I happened to glance back over my shoulder, and…
oh…
waitaminnit…
if you’re going to play King of the Mountain, it helps if you’re on the right mountain.

My hasty notes had failed to indicate one critical detail, that being that I needed to make a right-hand turn onto a dirt road that I missed completely. I was one ridge too far south, and looking back, through the trees I could see the cliff that is the actual launch site. Doh! Back down the hill, a bit more driving, and I found a road that climbs behind the real ridge, and that allows for a much higher starting point for the hike. That’s better. I still didn’t know the recommended place to park, but I picked a spot that had a trail, and headed for the high point of the ridge. It still took a little poking around when I got to the right vicinity, but it’s not all that hard to find a big cliff with a clearing on top, and when I did, there was the unmistakable sign of a free-flight launch site.

There’s a nice setup area.

Launch is pretty clean, there’s nothing out front to collide with.

And there’s a nice looking valley out front — I wonder if thermals cook up off of that quarry.

On the way down, it was easy to find the trail that provides the shortest path from the road, though I have to wonder if there might be another route that would be longer but flatter (nice if one is using a cart to transport a glider). It might take some slightly unusual circumstances to motivate me to fly here, since West Rutland is a bit closer and works in the same wind direction, but I’ll keep this place in mind.

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About cleversky

Hang glider pilot in New England since 2004. Also an avid orienteer, and an embedded systems firmware engineer. And some other outdoor stuff.
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