Life really can pass by in the blink of an eye. I was just sitting here being a bit introspective and retrospective and I was hit with a rather astounding epiphany: it has been damn near 25 years since I watched my first hang glider launch off of McClouds Mountain. I knew right then and there, from the moment that the pilot tucked in his harness, made a left turn and started climbing in the ridgelift, that I wanted to fly. To this day that desire is still there.
McClouds is still there as well, though under a name deemed apropos for selling real estate, and more than likely closed to flying forever. A glider hasn't launched from the 2,500' MSL cliffs in over a decade now-houses have been built and the road to the top improved. It's almost as if someone is trying to kill this wonderful and sacred mountain. In many ways they have succeeded. Today it is a budding upscale community with condos in the early phases of implementation. It makes me feel as if I'm standing at the bedside of a dying brother.
Nonetheless, McClouds looms large in the thoughts of several people...I know Clyde, Jim, Judy, Tip and a host of others, myself included remember a time when things were better on the mountain- a time when gliders soared the sacred ridges of McClouds, unbound by development and the signs posted. No hang gliders it read. Today the sign has been replace by an attractive and upscale stone and steel gate-which opens at the push of a button...a button owned by those who do not fly.
This, my friends, is a tragedy.