Colorado couple fly friendly Panhandle skies
by Carol Harper
A funny thing happened to us on the way to the Lake .......well, actually a very interesting thing happened to us on the way to the Lake this past weekend! We were driving west to Lake Etling for a quiet, relaxing weekend when “something” appeared on the horizon that we couldn't quite make out. As we got closer, we decided that someone was parachuting to the ground! No, it wasn't descending to the ground, so it had to be someone strapped to some kind of wind glider being pulled by a pickup or something...... The closer we got, we saw that there was no vehicle on the ground pulling the “glider” and that it wasn't a glider at all. This was some kind of self-propelled gismo with a long, narrow rectangular parachute. The man was swooping around at his will, then he would ascend upward, then swoop around some more, then descend a bit and swoop some more at his own bidding!
We were in awe, and noticed a vehicle stopped up the road a bit, evidently watching this aviation show also. We pulled up even with the flying miracle, watching, got out of our car and started visiting with the lady watching. The lady was Donna Bridge and her husband, Randy was the pilot above and to the North of us. She told us to wait a little bit and he would be landing right there.
These are the nicest people, very interesting and very accommodating. They live at Lamar , Colo. and they go “all over” and everywhere “people will let us” to fly his “Powered Paraglider”. They have been flying in a lot of different places, and he has been doing this for about 5 years. Donna has a “Tricycle” Paraglider and she went to California to learn how to pilot it.
They invited us to go closer to the Lake and watch Randy “take off”. Of course, we were happy to follow Donna to the designated place and whipped out the old camera hoping to capture a picture or two.
Donna holds a wind sock for Randy before takeoff which appropriately reads “Pilot at Play”. Randy took off running through the pasture with his “motor” purring and parachute in tow. Then, all of a sudden, he was airborne and swooping around again! He “buzzed” us a few times and even released a little bear complete with eye goggles and colorful parachute to float to the ground for Carol.
Randy says the ride is really exciting and that he takes aerial pictures of places and e-mails them to the local newspapers when he can. He says he really likes “his feet dragging through the weeds” while on take-off!
A Para-glider like Randy's can be had for about $8000 and we think if one can “fork” this amount of dough out for one of these, it would be well worth the money!
Randy and Donna have been camping at Lake Etling since Monday of last week and they hike and look for arrowheads when not swooping the sky. Some of the nicest people you could ever want to meet!
After enjoying all the invigorating and interesting excitement, we did settle down for a quiet and relaxing weekend at the Lake .
Boise City News