Mark D Stephens: Adventurer, writer, photographer, ambassador of the sonoran desert
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Mingus Mountain Magic
Watching the 30th Anniversary of the first hang glide from this mountain

It was a total surprise, seeing the 30th anniversary celebration of hang gliding on Mingus Mountain. We were camping on Mingus and I told my friends that we might be able to watch a hang glider or two take off from the launch on top.

I've been here several times and seen a few people launch. But this time was totally different.

First, we couldn't find a place to park. The area was slammed with campers, chase vehicles, and hundreds of hang gliders. It was incredible. I learned from someone that this Labor Day weekend (2005) happened to be the 30th anniversary of the very first hang glide launch from this site.

Just because I had a fancy looking camera on my shoulder, one of the dude's in charge mistook me for a journalist from the newspaper ("The difference between journalism and literature is that journalism is unreadable, and literature is not read" said Oscar Wilde.) While I should take exception to being called a journalist, I still piggybacked on this notion and took my place at the bottom of the ramp where there were a few "real" photographers.

My first shot just so happened to be of the guy who made the first launch 30 years ago that sparked this celebration, Jimmy Vaughn.

We watched dozens of guys and gals take off via hang glider; as a bonus several people were paragliding at a nearby ramp, too. Paragliding is a little less freaky than base jumping: in paragliding your chute is already deployed. However, I don't think the chute is the same, but it's similar.

A paraglider sort of waits for an upward gust fo wind, leaps off the cliff, and gets carried away by the wind. Pretty cool.

Anyway, check out the photos to the right.

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Mark D. Stephens: Adventurer, Writer, Photgrapher and Ambassador of the Sonoran Desert