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9 November 2012 / leggypeggy

Paragliding in the Andes

Paragliding

Knee pads and helmet—check! Looks like I might be ready to go skateboarding.

In a rash moment, I said yes to tandem paragliding in Mendoza.

What was I thinking? Mendoza is Argentina’s leading wine-growing region and I could have signed up for any number of wine-tasting tours.

But I can drink wine all over the world, but paragliding in the Andes doesn’t come around very often. Besides the price, 400 pesos a person, couldn’t be beat. At our exchange rate that amounted to $60 for an hour of nail-biting fun and breathtaking scenery.

So eight of us took off with Mario and Diego of Paragliding Parapente for a new adventure.

And what a great day we had!

For each of us, the adventure began in an ancient Russian 4WD vehicle. Once loaded with two experts, two novices and all the gear, the little red beast made a 25–30 minute drive up a rugged Andean ridge to get to the ‘departure lounge’.

Paragliding take-off point

You want me to run off the edge of that?

We heard in advance that the ridge was scary, and it was. Rocky and narrow, with drops that were close and sheer. After the ride up, everyone was more than delighted to be coming down on a glider.

Mario, who I think owns the company, is confidence inspiring. He’s been paragliding for 20-plus years and has more than 3000 hours in the air. From the outset, he explained that it was possible that not everyone would be able to glide. It all depended on the weather and winds.

It was also impressive to see the checks and double checks done as I got ‘suited up’. Nice to knkow tht nothing is left to chance.

That said, the Mother Nature had her way when it came to take-off. Mario explained the procedure. Bend forward, legs straight, take four or so steps backward and then run forward.

Paragliding

And we’re off

I was hitched up to Diego (the Hunk) and before we even had a chance to think about making a proper exit, a gust of wind swept us into the air. Diego got in a few steps, but I was instantly airborne. I felt like Mary Poppins with a giant umbrella.

The ride down was amazing. Wonderful scenery—I could see all the way to Chile—viewed from 1750 metres. The mountain colours ranged from deep rust to charcoal to all shades of brown and green. I confess that I didn’t take my camera. I just wanted to enjoy the experience, without succumbing to my tendency to take too many pics.

Others did have cameras so stay tuned and I’ll do another post on the scenery.

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6 Comments

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  1. Louise Scrivener / Nov 9 2012 3:33 pm

    I’ll say Peggy’s Leggy – CHECK OUT THOSE PINS!!!!

    And as for Diego… sheesh!

    As usual, my dear, you are awesome.

    Totally.

    xL

    Like

  2. Wendy Steibelt / Nov 10 2012 2:14 am

    Brave lady!!

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Nov 10 2012 8:31 am

      Thanks Wendy, it really isn’t as scary as it looks. I have, however, promised the kids I won’t go bungee jumping. Now that’s scary!

      Like

  3. skippersySy S. / Nov 10 2012 2:59 am

    Hello Poor John,

    How can you let Leggy Peggy jump off a cliff ? Has she lost her mind ? Chewing on Beadle Nuts.
    Is that a photo of Leggy Peggy with a white helmet, black shirt and hands extended…. she must think she is a Condor and ready to fly away with the wind. Brave Soul she is! Actually I would be bold enough to try that some day… but happy being home and on my computer and just taking in the blog words and photos.

    Sy S.

    Like

    • leggypeggy / Nov 10 2012 8:29 am

      Hi Sy,
      Surely Poor John should be more concerned about me jumping off a cliff in the arms of Diego the Hunk! 🙂
      But you should know that he’s going to climb a volcano on Sunday and I’m staying in the pub! I wonder who will have more fun?

      Like

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