LOCATION: Jockey’s Ridge State Park. Kill Devil Hills, NC
For Christmas, my parent’s bought me a gift certificate to go hang gliding in Nags Head. We have a condo there, and across the street are the gigantic dunes. People fly kites and sand surf all the time. It also makes a really great place for hang gliding. After waiting for it to warm up a little, I decided to use my certificate.
I arrived and had to do some in class training, which meant watch a video. Afterwards, the group of about 15 took a long, sandy walk to the top of the dunes. Soft sand and climbing do not go together, so it was a hefty hike to the top! From there, the guides showed us the techniques we would use to hang glide. It all looked fairly simple. Push down on the handrail to nose downward, push up on the handrail to nose upward.
After the instruction, it was time to start. There were a couple of people in front of me and I was able to watch them fly first. I assumed we would be gliding ourselves, but was soon surprised. The guides were running the gliders down the hill with a rope tethered to the glider. I was pretty upset. I would still get to hang glide, but it was controlled. I wanted to let my horse run free! I didn’t want to be guided. I was bummed, but still decided that it would be a good time regardless.
Finally, it was my turn and the wind started to pick up really bad. I stood holding my glider and was pulled up into the air. As I glided down the hill, my glider was going all over the place from the wind. It was actually probably a good thing that the guide was holding me down because I would have flown off to never never land. Landing the glider was a lot of fun because you basically push the handrail up in the air, nose upward, then slowly land on your feet. It is a weird feeling. There were a few times where I couldn’t really control the glider and I fell when I landed, but that was to be expected, I guess.
While the experience was much different than I imagined, it was still fun. I definitely think a tandem hang gliding experience would have been the better way to go.
* Thank you Mom and Dad for a great Christmas present and for accompanying me on this adventure!
WOULD I DO IT AGAIN?: I wouldn’t mind tandem hang gliding, but I wouldn’t do the dune one again.
HOW TO DO THIS: 3 Hours of dune hang gliding is $99 through Kitty Hawk Kites. http://www.kittyhawk.com/hang-gliding/hang-gliding-lessons/