Kind words gentleman, I appreciate it........now that my bday wknd is over you can get back to poking fun at me
When I was first learning to kite, I was given various pieces of equipment and wetsuit accessories by some of the chicago crew; V, Greg, Shawn and Scottie G. It really reinforced for me the right attitude to have in this developing sport....helping and supporting those learning. Kiting was very daunting and dangerous to learn back then, and it is and always will be to some degree, so keeping an eye out for your buddies and even those you don't know is critical for maintaining a safe scene....always lend a helping hand!!!!!!!!!
As for the 4 day South blow the last wknd....started at lsp and finished at betsie.....daily downwinders, many based on absolute faith and the shakin' of the rocks, cause it was a bit light at all departures, but picked up as we continued and hammered on the finish!!!!!!! The conditions were not tremendous, but the scenery and camaraderie were overwhelming......I camped out every night under the stars with the sounds of a babbling stream, the wind thru the trees, or the yapping of coyotes in the distance!!!!! Sunny skies, sandy dunes, deserted beaches, restored lighthouses, windy days, smoked fish, fresh asparagus, sweet corn, ripe strawberries.......and alot of driving on back roads, gravel paths, and sand tracks......as much kiting as my ol' knee could handle.
Many memories from the trip, but foremost were two rather peculiar kiting highlights........on the evening of our first downwinder from Frankfort to Betsie, there were several children playing in the sand on the beach, 3 boys and a girl between the ages of 6 and 8. They appeared to be building sand castles. As we rigged I kept hearing a seagull call. After several of these calls I realized that the young girl was mimicking a seagull....I laughed and told her that she sounded just like a seagull. She responded that she and her friends were trying to lure in a seagull and catch it in the sand.......As we finished rigging and departed she continued her calls, giggling the whole time. I answered her a few times with my own "novice" attempts, and she would just laugh and demonstrate her mastery of the sound we all know so well!!!!!!!!!! During the rest of our trip, we all would give a whole-hearted attempt at sounding like a seagull, never with anywhere near the effect the young girl displayed........the second highlight was on the next evening's downwinder along the same route. I had just come around the high dunes downwind of Frankfort and started skirting the shoreline where the trees line the beach, when I came across a family that was gathered around a campfire waiting on the sun to set into the golden-hued waters. As I passed them I came right next to shore and laid down a turn just inches off the sand, and as I came out of my turn I caught the scent of a birch log burning. At each of several beach turns that followed as I continued my downwind cruise , I would get a whiff of that "birch log burning" as it wafted on down the coast; in the cool air of the lake, in the evening light reflected off the dunes, in the transition of heelside to toeside, in the moment that possesed me, it represented what it was......PURE MICHIGAN!!!!!
I say it all the time.....because to me it is what really matters. It's not the big jumps, cool transitions, or outrageous turns that make what we do so special. It's the whole experience of sharing a magical thing with others and immersing yourself in a passion. Enjoy life, and recoginize we are just part of the circle!!!!!!!!!! Now you can make fun of me for referencing THE LION KING.......happy kiting............