Growing up in Campbell River I always knew that in a small town connections are important. I can`t count how many times I was warned by my parents "never brun bridges!". Connections and good relationships can get you jobs, spots on sports teams, information about events, ect, ect... While this is especially true in small towns, it holds all over.
I am still in Switzerland spending the holidays with my friend David. I met him playing volleyball in CR and we became friends. He is a helicopter pilot and with the many economic troubles our town has suffered the past few years David had to move to Fort McMurray for work. But we didn`t lose touch. We would email and talk and skype. It is not easy to keep contact with friends from afar. I have been in London only 4 months and it is amazing how few people I talk to regularly. Everyone is busy and it takes a conscious effort to keep in touch with someone. David only lived in CR a few years but made some very good friends and is very good at keeping connected with many of them.
When I arrived in Switzerland David told me that a pilot buddy of his might be able to take us on a helicopter ride. I had told David that one thing I wanted to see while here was the Matterhorn. Having visited Disneyland MANY times, I thought it would be great to see the real thing! Hearing that we might get to take a heli ride was very exciting, but I was already in Switzerland and feeling pretty blessed so I decided I wasn`t going to base the success of my trip on this one opportunity. I have seen some wonderful things this past week. We toured Geneva, spent time in the Swiss Alps, took some mountain walks and spent time with David`s friends and family. The weather in Geneva has been quity foggy so I was thinking the heli ride was probably not going to come to fruition.
Getting the helmet cam set up, I was first!
And we`re off!!
Then David told me he had a friend who does ULM flights - ultra light, basically a motor-trike with a big hang gliding wing attached. Again I thought "wow, cool!" but there are so many factors - weather, wind... - that I wasn`t going to get my hopes too high. Well, the next day we were on the road heading to France. We met up with Seb, who David had met at heli school in CR, then went on to the French Alps where JB was waiting for us, also a fellow heli pilot from CR. JB took us each up for a ride in his ULM. We went over the French Alps, followed ski slopes, saw castles and ski resorts and waterfalls. We each got about a 15 minute ride and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. We went about 2700 meters in altitude and also soared down right near the trees. There is a propeller on the back of the trike to keep speed but for the last couple minutes of the flight he cuts the motor and you glide through the trees before landing. Probably the closest feeling to flying like a bird out there! We got some cool pictures, and with a camera on the wing and another on the helmet, some great video too, AMAZING.
After the flight I told David that maybe I need to get more creative with my bucket list because I had never even thought to put something like this on, never thought I would get this opportunity!