Flight: Spain, France: Cadí-Moixeró, Pic Carlit

One of the elements of the European air traffic system that rubs me the wrong way is the expectation that a pilot a) flies from point A to B and b) actually follows through on the original plan. The system really doesn’t contemplate willy-nilly in flight course and destination changes. It is not to say that it is illegal, or impossible, its just that it makes no sense to anyone but me.

At least 80% of the time, I fly precisely somewhere other than what I planned. That is usually evident once I get in the air and sample what lighting and other conditions are present. I then re-route my entire expectation, subject to constraints of fuel, airports, weather, and whatever client I am deviously avoiding (for favor of flying instead of working). Suffice it to say that my pre-flight weather planning consists of checking everything in a 3 hour radius.

The thing is, Cadí-Moixeró Natural Park (sorry for referring to it as a “national” park some posts ago – it is a “natural park,” which is a lot like national forests in the USA) is not visible from the house. All of the weather forecasts in the world do not tell me about lighting and cloud texture precisely along the ridge line, so I find out as I am taking off and get the first view.

This was one of those days. The wind was out of the south, and the cloud bank was stationary along the range. As the wind descended off the ridge, the clouds dried out precisely at the same point, presenting the illusion that they were not moving. Rather, it was two air masses yet again, this time with southerly winds instead of northerly, and the dividing line was again this mountain range.

Afterward, I wandered over to France because I could, and then attempted a formation flight with a glider, which did not work, because the silly thing outran me, even at full power.

Hints of first snow.
img_1965-18-of-620

Cadí-Moixeró ridgeline is notoriously difficult to photograph, as the 1,500 foot prominence is perpetually in a shadow.
img_1986-39-of-620 img_2003-56-of-620

This is the stationary cloud boundary.
img_2083-136-of-620 img_2129-182-of-620

Can you find the two deer in this photo?
img_2181-234-of-620

Again, this massive cloud deck refuses to cross to this side of the ridge below, due to Chinook (“Föhn” in Europe) winds.
img_2205-258-of-620 img_2230-283-of-620

Masella ski area.
img_2272-325-of-620 img_2286-339-of-620

Looking back at Cadí-Moixeró.
img_2322-375-of-620

Carlit plateau.
img_2338-391-of-620

I thought it was above timberline, until I found these trees. There are a lot of grazing activities here which may impact tree growth.
img_2353-406-of-620 img_2371-424-of-620 img_2392-445-of-620 img_2417-470-of-620 img_2424-477-of-620

Pic Carlit, France.
img_2442-495-of-620

The glider I could not keep up with…
img_2501-554-of-620

LECD – Aerodrom La Cerdanya (That is the Catalan spelling).
img_2504-557-of-620

Despite the Spanish proclivity to corruption, siestas, flamenco dancing, avoiding debt repayment, and general fiscal insolvency, Spanish farmers are constantly busy doing something. 
img_2511-564-of-620