Travels

Baptism of fire: Paragliding in Uribe

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Gari testing the kite

When, at 6.20 am, I embarked on the plane that would take me from Barcelona to Bilbao, I already knew that, that day, that would not be the only time I was going to fly. However, the second time I would have an aerial view of the green forests of the Basque region of Uribe, its rugged coastline sculpted by giant punches and the ravages of the indomitable Cantabrian Sea, would not be through the small, tarnished window of an airplane. It was the day of my baptism of fire in the world of paragliding.

Just a week before I was in Oludéniz - south of Turkey - and watched as people descended from a top of 1700 meters of altitude using the technique of paragliding. I tried to look at the type of flight they performed and, above all, on the landing. It did not seem too difficult because they flew in tandem and all the expertise is put by the expert instructor.

Jagoba picked me up from the airport to start a full weekend in which I would discover the natural and gastronomic secrets of the Uribe region. We had the right time to leave things at the Loiu hotel, chat with their nice jienense director -Rocío- and meet with my colleagues and friends Roberto and Maribel -of Elguisanteverdeproject-, before leaving for the town of Maruri, of just over a thousand inhabitants.

When we arrived at the meeting place it was ten o'clock on a beautiful morning at the end of October. The streets dozed while we commented nervously that none had ever tried this risk sport.

A few later they appeared Gari and Douglas, the ones in charge of making us fly from the top of mount Jata, located about 600 meters above sea level.

The views from the top of Mount Jata

After the rigorous presentations, we took the cars and started the ascent. The preparation for the flight was quite short. The pleasant, improper temperature of the month of October in this area made us not need any special warm clothes. We could fly wearing simple multi-pocket pants, T-shirt and a fleece. Gari and Douglas removed the large kites from the backpacks, stretched their tracks and put on the harnesses that hooked us to them.

The instructions were very few. They told us that, due to the lack of wind, the flight was going to be somewhat shorter than usual. It would take only about ten minutes to descend to the pastures of the mansions surrounding the Maruri road.

I listened to the instructors talk while my gaze was lost in the impressive landscape present in the distance. Just in front of me I saw the green coast where beaches like those of Sopelana, Meñakoz or Bakio They delight surfers. The sea, calm, dyed deep blue all over the North. Leafy forest plots alternated with pastures and hamlets in whose kitchens began to prepare food for family meals own weekend. Gari's voice took me out of my self-absorption when he told me that I had to prepare for takeoff.

I took the GoPro camera, with which I would record the flight images, and followed the instructions. Have you ever run in the air which cartoon?. Well, I assure you it is a very strange feeling. You start walking a few steps down the hillside. The tracks rise in the air and the kite swells. You take speed and you must accelerate the pace. You start a short race that ends when you get up in the air with a slight tironcillo. Your legs are suspended in the air and you must continue to make the gesture of running for a couple of seconds more.WE'RE FLYING.

Gari with his rigging

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