In the Air: I take the flight of my life
Morning in Solang was refreshing! We had a quick breakfast, especially the kids and I, because we wanted to paraglide. Even after all the exciting things we had seen and the adventures we had experienced on this trip, I was waiting expectantly for paragliding. It felt like a dream to me, flying in the air, and I felt it too good to be true that this dream was going to become true.
The guides sat behind you steering the glider, while you simply let your feet dangle in the air while cruising in the air. There was a short jump and a high jump. I hesitated a bit, but Vidisha encouraged me and I was on my way on horseback to the top of the mountain. From about 1000 ft, I plunged into the air. Manali and Solang were tiny towns beneath me, and so were many mountaintops. It was indescribable. We were swinging downwards to flirt with the treetops on the side of the mountain, and then swinging upwards with the air current. My flight controller was very skilled and I was able to appreciate the art of continuing to find air currents to keep you alight. I was on cloud nine, literally.
In the air at Solang…that’s me under the red glider…
Slowly, we descended and were back on earth, running to land on the ground. A dream had come true for me and I felt satiated. Vidisha was smiling, looking at my glowing face. She had captured several good pictures of me high in the air.
I chatted with my guide Sangeet, and learnt that a new glider cost anywhere from Rs. 1 to 1.5 lakh. A second-hand glider cost from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 70,000. A new glider lasted for about 50 hours of flight. The short flight cost Rs. 300, and the high jump at Rs. 1000. Normal prices were slightly higher; we got a discount because Sangeet was a relative of our hotel owner.
Can you see me up there?
After lunch, we decided to take a walk to Dhundi, a spot about 5 km downwards on the Solang nala. We were walking beside the stream, on the rounded pebbles and gigantic rocks. On our way, we were enticed by tree trunk bridges placed above the stream, and were doing a balancing act back and forth. It was fun.
On our way back, we decided that the road would be safer in the dark, than the boulders and rocks. The mountainside was full of vegetation and trees, and we hiked our way up on slippery, wet grass, towards the road. It felt good to be walking on the road in the dark.