Microadventure #105: Hang-gliding in Nags Head, NC

I was going to title this blog post: “Learning to Fly.” Flying, after all, is a skill most superheroes have, and this more-than-microadventure experience is totally one that caters to my SuperCarpeDiemWoman alter-ego.

Stella planned a vacation within a vacation for us to Nags Head, NC, during my 2-month holiday visit to North Carolina. Scotty drove down from Centreville, VA to meet us at an awesome Airbnb beach house right on the coast.

Our itinerary included at least 5 events that I’d consider “Microadventures” but I will save the other 4 for another post.

Matt & Scotty going to Hang Gliding School!

Originally, it was only going to be Matt & Scotty who had planned to experience hang gliding at KittyHawkKites. We’d thought it was a 3-hour training period which concluded with a flight.

Knowing that any previous classes I’d taken involving wind (sailing and wind-surfing) were embarrassingly pathetic, I had no interest myself in even trying.

In fact, I’ve been avoiding any sport that is at all risky or dangerous since I started having back problems 4 years ago. And I’d heard that hang gliding was one of the most dangerous sports there is!

Stella and I had planned to just go find a pretty walk somewhere on the beach while Matt & Scotty took the class and be back in time for a photo shoot of their flight.

However, we discovered that we could tag along for the class, which included 5 flights to actually experience what they were learning. Willie, one of the instructors, asked Stella and me, “Are you sure you don’t want to join, too?”

Stella said she was perfectly happy to watch with Choco and Mochi.

Stella on the Sand Dunes of Jockey’s Ridge watching our attempts at hang gliding

I, however, hesitantly said that I might like to try. I’ve lived through skydiving, bungee jumping, and para-sailing (although I did break my tooth on the skydiving landing.) I’m all about the one-time adventure experience in a controlled environment.

I also realized that this was an opportunity to experience something new and adventurous right alongside my dare-devil sons, Matt and Scotty.

Willie told me that I could watch Matt & Scotty’s first flights and decide. When I saw that it didn’t look nearly as scary and dangerous as I’d imagined (this was a beginner’s lesson, after all) I decided to go for it!

It ended up being amazing! Willie and Megan, the two trainers, were there to guide throughout my three flights and I had no problems at all, even on the landings!

“I’m flying!”

Interestingly, there was a woman around my age, Sonia, who was working on getting a hang gliding certification. We chatted and exchanged numbers and I admired her passion in wanting to advance with her skills with the sport.

Personally, I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to do it at all. Experiencing the thrill of “flying,” the relief of the ease of landing, the excitement of the instructors yelling out, “You’re doing it!” and being with Matt, Scotty, and Stella– yeah, that’s once-in-a-lifetime priceless.

12-31-22 Update: I just received this text from Sonia: Happy New Year, Yvette. I’m back home in Ohio, I arrived only a few days ago. I stopped in Washington D.C. on my way back and spent Christmas day at Mount Vernon–George Washington’s estate. Had no idea how entrepreneurial a man he was, they still have a distillery there and sell his whiskey, that is whiskey produced using his recipes. The best news of all though, is that I got my Hang 1 certification. Glad to share the news with you because, well, you were there for a small part of the journey. Hang 2 or Bust!!! Keep in touch.

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