Paragliding in Pokhara is a very special treat. It is not just another paragliding adventure trip but because it is in Pokhara it has all the reasons to be special. Gliding from the top of a mountain allows you to see the breathtaking scenery of the Fewa Lake which is fed by glacial water, the Annapurna mountain ranges. As you glide you also see communities and the view from above is just so amazing that you want to do it again and again.
As we arrived in Pokhara the only thing on my mind was paragliding. I know it is a beautiful place, with its famous Fewa Lake, culture, temples, and adventures; paragliding was on my mind. Checking in at the Himalayan Inn; Ram, the owner of the hotel introduced us to paragliding right away and he said book now so you can get the chance to fly tomorrow. We looked for dinner after resting and taking a shower for awhile from our hike and bus ride from Jogimara, Dhading.
We had a good night’s rest so we woke up very early to get ready for the flight. We were at the hotel lobby at 7:30 in the morning as the flight will be at 9:00, we want to be early. We were told that the flight will be delayed due to the weather condition, the sky was too dark and the pilots will not be able to see a thing and it would be dangerous to fly. We decided to walk around the lake Fewa waiting that our flight will be in the morning so we did not eat anything so save us from possible throwing up. Time was running that we thought the flight was not gonna happen that day. We went to eat breakfast and lunch altogether. We were famished so it was a very heavy meal. We headed back to our hotel and talking to Ram he said that your flight can really happen now.
We were excited, we were very full from our lunch break and it was a bit of a worry if throw up on the flight there will be shitload of undigested rain of food. We were taken to the paragliding company and we had to fill up some papers before the flight and we were told to that we have had to wait for the other pilots that were going to fly with us from other gliding companies in order for them to be taken up into a mountain in one van.
We waited for at least 30 minutes for other pilots and our pilots were a little bit uncomfortable since the window of a good flight is closing. We took the van with other customers for thirty minutes or more up the mountain of Sarangkot. The mountain was a perfect spot of the flight since you will see Annapurna and the Macchapucchre or the Fish Tail Mountain as they call it; if we were lucky enough.
As we reached the top of Sarangkot, we left our stuff with Prakash and we were told to hurry, the wind is perfect and time is running out. I hurried while Glenn’s (my brother) pilot was just near by, I ran towards my pilot not minding my footing, it was slippery and the terrain was going down, so I slipped and fell. I did not get hurt, I was excited of the flight.
Ronaldo was my pilot and he had fifteen years of experience of solo and tandem flights both professional and commercial flights. He is Venezuelan and spoke great English with a Spanish accent. He told me to just listen and pay attention. Well, I had all of that but I didn’t know if I had enough courage for this kind of adventure. I used to do a lot of rock climbing and i even lead my routes so heights maybe scary from the start and then you just get the hang of it, but I still have to prove that paragliding was really safe.
He gave me the gear and strapped it on me, told me to take care of my camera and he was not responsible to it if it falls off from the flight. He buckled me in together with his gear and checked everything if we were ready to go. Then he gently told me to walk when I tell you to walk and run when i tell you to run… I followed everything and kept calm.
When we took off the slope of the Sarangkot mountain, I just screamed “it is beautiful.” i never felt so safe, it was even better than riding a mountain bike or being on my kayak. It was just so beautiful seeing everything from above. Ronaldo talked to me during the flight, he was telling me about the places and how safe it is to be paragliding. He used to be a mountain biker but during one of his rides, he saw a man took off from a mountain for a glide back in Venezuela that he was so excited to meet the man. He fell in love with it, sold his expensive mountain bike, took lessons, opened his own company after few years, sold everything and broke up with his girlfriend and flew to Nepal to be in Pokhara. He fell in love with the place as he was watching a paragliding documentary and he has stayed in Pokhara for almost ten years then. Sometimes he goes home and works on community service using his glider, this story is very interesting that I will write about it the next time.
He pointed at me the rice terraces and he said during the monsoon, all of those will produce an infinite cascade of water that it is so beautiful to look at from above, it was just the beginning of monsoon season so we did not get too much rain. He pointed at me an eagle just right below us. I shouted “it’s an eagle.” he said “sometimes they would fly right next to me.” This is the beauty of paragliding.
He took photographs of me using my Fujifilm XT1 and he strapped my camera safely in one of the slings available for that. We then saw the lake, I thought the flight was gonna end, i just took photos after photos, the adventure was almost over. we then turned suddenly to the right, bringing us back near the mountain, and then he told me “this is the beauty of what i do, i get to see things and places in a different way.” We headed to the lake and I saw Fewa lake in a very unique point of view. It was from above!
As we were almost on top of our landing area, he told asked me, “ready for the acrobatics?” I said, yeah! Bring it on! He he suddenly collapsed the glider making us spin and bringing us fast going down, he made us sway to the left and right making abrupt falls, I screamed saying, “I’m gonna throw up.”
It was the must exciting feeling of that adventure and i wanna do it again.
As the last sudden spins and falls, he pulled both sides of the glider down to make an approach to land. It was very smooth and perfect!
Ronaldo was a great pilot he just made my day!