Checking In: Camping, Food, & Hang Gliding

Hi folks. Sorry for the lack of posts but that will rectify soon enough. In fact, I’m anxious to get back to it in earnest. I’ve been out of town about 20 days out of the last month, mostly doing vacationing sorts of things. There was the week of MovNat, three days home, Italy for a week, three days home and now we’re on a 14th annual family camping trip up near Mt. Lassen, Hat Creek, about 15 miles from Burney, CA.

This began as a hang-gliding trip for me and soon many family members joined in. Come Monday I’ll head home and the vacation season will be over. As usual, we’ve been doing some amazing cooking. If you search the blog for ‘Hat Creek’ I believe there’s some documentation from previous years.

Yesterday, my brothers Mike & Dave got up at 5:30am in order to dig a pit and cook a whole pig over 12 hours buried in coals and hot rocks, which we devoured last night.


I don’t have any pics of the end process as I was up on the Hat Creek Rim flying. Here’s a short video clip of the fun. 2:30 of a 40 minute flight that included an altitude gain of about 1,000 over the launch at 4,500 MSL. The landing isn’t perfect, but no damage. It’s hard landing at 3,700 elevation in 90 degrees with no wind to switching winds. It was pretty westerly as I was setting up the approach, watching the sock. By the time I got into final it was too late to get more southerly. Wind had shifted about 90 degrees. 

Flying the Hat Creek Rim from Richard Nikoley on Vimeo.

I had a camera on board for some in-flight shots but this morning found that when I had cleaned off the SD card that I’d left it in my computer. Well, tonight I have dinner duty, which will be carne asada, mega guac, and some grilled bell peppers & onions. We’re going to cook the meat over the open campfire.

Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. The cost of two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance the travel to write, photo, and film from interesting places and share the experiences with you.


  1. Stratispho on August 7, 2010 at 12:07

    Hang-gliding looks like so much fun. Were able to do this before you lost weight or is it something that you’ve picked up after? If you did it before, is it easier to do now?

    And not much beats a slow pit roasted pig. Looks like a great trip.

    • Richard Nikoley on August 7, 2010 at 12:29

      I’ve been flying for 15 years. When I learned, I weighed maybe 10-15 pounds more than now and the first years were the most active. I still flew even at my heaviest. Actually, higher weight means more wing loading means more control for a weight shift-controlled wing. So, it’s actually a bit tougher in flight because I have a big wing that I bought when I weighted 60 pounds more than now.

      I’m considering becoming more active again and if I do I’ll trade in for a bit more performance and a smaller surface.

      What’s way easier is all the prep and logistics that go into hang gliding. Mountain flying like I do is very labor intensive.

  2. Lute Nikoley on August 8, 2010 at 10:30

    For us (me and Bonny) it’s been a great vacation, as it always is when we get to spend it with most of the family. 3 sons and their spouses, 1 grandson and one granddaughter. Then some other family joined us for the day and went to their motel in Burney to sleep, then return the next day in time for brunch. We left Modesto on Friday 7-30 and are anxious to get home. Also wondering if the boys I paid ahead of time to mow my lawn while gone will have done so. All in all, great food, great beer brewed by our own brewmaster Mike and spirits of all sorts to be had. Then the campfires each night were great, Mike and I went into the mountains, found some dry downed trees cut into longs with my newly purchased chain saw, just for this purpose, then brought the logs back to camp to start the hard part, which was splitting the logs.

  3. Ann on August 9, 2010 at 03:06

    what is “mega guac”? It sound like a supped up guacamole, is that right? If so please share!

    • Richard Nikoley on August 10, 2010 at 09:33


      By that, I meant like in the photo here:

      Rather than a condiment it’s a whole side dish, like mashed potatoes or something. As far as my recipe:

      fresh garlic
      jalapeno peppers
      salt & pepper

      Basically I do a ratio of about 1 tomato for 3 avocados and the rest is to taste. But I go quite a bit of the pepper as I like it to have a good kick.

  4. anonymous chris on August 9, 2010 at 09:37

    Looks like a blast.
    Hey Richard, do you do any backpacking? I wonder what other paleo minded hikers do? I packed last summer for the first time after adopting a fairly strict paleo diet and ate mainly a home-made crushed-nut, coconut oil, raison and egg-white “bar” thing. It was compact, calorie-dense, tasty, and kept well but I got burnt-out on it after a few days. We’ve got a hike planned and I’m curious as to what you or others do? Gracias

  5. Katelyn on August 9, 2010 at 17:57

    A whole pig? Oh, you tease this carnivore, Rich! Come out to Boston some time for a Brazilian, hehe.

  6. Val on August 10, 2010 at 15:41

    Ah, the hang-gliding looks like so much fun! That reminds me to try it “someday”…
    The problem being, “someday” has a way of never showing up – I need to make a plan & JUST DO IT!

  7. Doug McGuff, MD on August 12, 2010 at 06:32

    Like we tell our clients at Ultimate Exercise…it’s no fun to have a Ferrari if you can only drive in a school zone. Your enhanced strength and body composition will open up a whole new world of activity. For me it was BMX. I used to be a professional BMX racer in high school/college. By the time I was 38 I was stronger than I had ever been and I returned to racing winning a state championship and a national competition in the process. Due to work/kid/business issues I no longer race, but I have a practice track built on the lot next to my house that I ride.

    The main thing I noticed that I had been missing when I returned to riding/racing was that “kinesthetic” sense of life. The feel of moving your body through space and cooperating with the forces of nature.

    Congratulations! Your new body has returned you to the FULL appreciation of life that most believe ends with childhood.

    Doug McGuff

  8. Steven on September 8, 2010 at 07:03

    Would love to have a taste of that cooked pig, it must have been really yummy! Great video too. Camping and hand gliding is really a great idea. It’s like a perfect combination of adventure. Now, I want to learn how to hand glide haha.

  9. Maribelle on September 10, 2010 at 23:00

    Food is very essential during camping trips so it is best to bring as much as possible. Ha! Ha! I am just surprised you brought a whole pig. Oh, well that would help a lot in your hand gliding. Hungry tummy will make you unfit for any activity.

    • Richard Nikoley on September 11, 2010 at 00:04


      Couple of precisions. It’s hang gliding.

      I always fly on a hungry, empty stomach. And that was even before going Paleo.

  10. Magaly on September 12, 2010 at 16:59

    Wow, I wonder how it feels to be hand gliding. I just wish that I could also be going hand gliding one day. The video looks great by the way. :)

  11. Williams on August 9, 2018 at 07:12

    I am hoping to visit there next month.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.