Monday, July 30, 2018

While Tim did the morning prep of the AirCores at the cabin, Jack and Sonja drove into Park Falls to check with the US Forest Service about launching at Newman Lake.  They welcomed it but, anticipating questions, they sent word to let nearby residents know in advance.  And so the the twelfth AirCore of the trip started its journey on a small swimming beach.  A young girl catching frogs in the lake seemed a little hesitant to pull the ripcord on the launcher, so Ruth, an enthusiastic observer gladly took the job.

The balloon followed the predicted trajectory… well, not really, but a little bit…. kind of.  With light winds, the trajectories seem to be less reliable, and we definitely had light winds throughout most of the profile.  In the end, however, the AirCore somehow made its way over to within a handful of miles of the predicted landing site, and we got our first taste of northern Wisconsin AirCore recovery.  We followed a series of dirt roads to what looked like our shortest approach to the AirCore, which was about 0.7 miles into the woods. 

We sprayed ourselves with bug repellent and crashed our way through fairly dense trees, brush and mosquitoes (and a lot of raspberry bushes, too, so we grabbed some snacks along the way).  And suddenly there was another dirt road and then the AirCore dangling in a tree another 30 feet into the woods. 

Bouncing over a stretch of sphagnum moss… so soft you could take a nap on it

Uh oh…..

Easy Street
Ready… aim…

Hmpf.  There was an easier way.  So we hiked back along what turned out to be a long, shared access road to a few properties, drove the truck back to the AirCore and got out our Oklahoma tree pruner/line grabber. 

Ha! Got it!

Tim was able to wedge himself between a couple of trees and up a few feet, which was juuuust enough for him to then toss the 16’ pruner and hook the lowest loop of the payload line – nailed it on the first try! 

From there it was fairly easy to tug on that line a bit and one by one the pieces came tumbling down. 

Tie game!  Trees: 1 / AirCore: 1

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