OVERCONFIDENCE // I'd spent months staring at maps, obsessing over ridges, valleys, cut-blocks and logging roads.
I was certain I could succeed but in hindsight I see that I was banking on my ability to memorize the landscape and repeat all the bulls**t fairytales I'd concocted about how it would all play out in the sky.
Though only six weeks have passed since this photo was taken, I am somehow embarrassed for the man it captures. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed as he may be, he is but blissfully ignorant of what a Vol-biv adventure of this scale means to take on.
PACIFIC AND ...GO! // In some ways this feels like the true start. Bathing in the Pacific, removing the week of dirt already caked to my exterior, and a feeling that the worst was behind me.
Little did I know what lay ahead.
Getting High with Friends
As much as I enjoy flying alone, nothing beats doing the thing you love with people who share your passion just as much.
Because Canadian Thanksgiving is a time to connect with friends and family, I am flashing back to this image from XBC's first real cross-country flight, which I had the pleasure of sharing with Scott and Al from Whistler to Pemberton, BC.
Thanks so much guys for getting me off on the right track!
Sharing the Dream
Though almost all of my flying on this journey has been solo, I always imagined this opportunity of sharing my experience through images as if my entire community of friends and fellow pilots were there with me.
This is one of my favourite images of Scott Flavelle as we enjoyed the first cross country flight of the journey from Whistler to Pemberton, BC.
NOW WE'RE FLYING! // After walking 100 km North of Vancouver I arrived in Whistler where I met local pilots Scott and Al. Together we hiked and flew from Rainbow Mountain and at long last I had escaped the effects of the sea-breeze.
Finally I was making real distance under wing and together with my aerial brothers, we danced in circles up to clouds and moved steadily along on our way to Pemberton, the next possible launch.
THE WOODEN SELFIE // So proud I was of my rustic tech. The plan was to hang this from the harness and trailing edge of the glider ..unfortunately the weight of the camera stabilizer (a must) was too much for the system and it couldn't keep from flipping upside down.
This was my last flight with the enchanted rod.
SPEECHLESS // Often, when preparing to tell a story, I try to leverage certain aspects and intensify them to help maintain interest.
In this particular case, I find myself in the opposite position, trying to tone back what has no doubt been the wildest, most transformational ride of my life.
And as I sit here in a state of confusion, envying the dude in mid-air that stares down at enchanted meadows and emerald lakes, I keep coming back to the feeling that I was there too. Perhaps in a parallel universe.
Nevertheless, the guy typing right now is up for a different challenge: Telling the most badass story of all time.
I have spent so much time looking at this exact frame ..but from Google Earth ..wondering how the heck a paraglider pilot could manage to cross such remote terrain.
In the end, it was simpler than I could have imagined. Let the beauty of it all distract you while you just fly them like any other paragliding site.
ABOVE THE CROWD // Invermere, BC is a popular place ..a cottage getaway or the gateway to many adventures in any season.
On this morning however, I had the swansea lookout all to myself, imagining everyone down there thinking "This weather, I tell you! When is this going to clear up!?"
AERIAL JAMS // After what was undisputedly the most remarkable day of this entire project, a 140 km straight shot over pure wilderness and the entire West Kootenay region, I just couldn't resits.
Guess what tune I'm playing?
KOOTENAY PARK // Ever since my first time driving from Banff to Radium ten years ago I dreamt of this day.
And though I had no idea then what route would eventually lead me here, I found myself suspended above the bodacious beauty of Kootenay National Park ..a no-land, no-launch zone and today I had a feeling that wouldn't be an issue.
XBC // I always knew someone would do it. I just never imagined it would be me.
The potential of paragliding over the entire span of Canada's southwest mountain ranges, has been my great dream since moving out here 10 years ago.
And, though there are many other Canadian pilots more worthy of such a task, I discovered that for one reason or another, they all had logical reasons for why it could not be done.
Today, please celebrate with me as I walk to the Calgary MEC store, completing this 39-day, solo, unsupported journey from Vancouver to Calgary and the first Canadian vol-biv, from Pacific to Prairie.
More importantly, thank you all for your support and believing in me in general. The love you show makes impossible seem like an outdated concept.
THREE SISTERS // It was late when I began hiking up Cougar Creek towards the Lady Macdonald trailhead ..the creek's name a reminder that I'd been lucky not to cross one's path so far.
Still, when I arrived at the trailhead, tired and torn, I felt comfortable enough to set up camp without the shelter of my cozy tent. Upon sunrise I saw them there watching over me and somehow it all became clear.
SATISFACTION // Like an orgasm, it's a fleeting feeling, realizing that all that you dreamt of and worked so hard for has come to you and that ultimately, your job as the dreamer is now redundant.
In this case it lasted about 1 minute, sandwiched between the terrifying feeling of sinking fast, one last ridge before the Prairies in an increasingly high-wind, turbulent situation without decent landing options -- and topping out at cloud base after having caught a hot core of a spanky thermal, pushing out out of a less-obvious, but wind-sheltered gully.
As I soared out into the clearing with 1000 km of massive rocks, valleys and memories behind me, I could feel the dream washing away in the cold Prarie breeze, sending the vision back West for the next pilot who dares find their way across this incredible landscape.
HOME FREE // After 37 days of massive mountains, glaciers, deep valleys and man-eating crevasses, I had completely forgotten that any other type of landscape could exist.
And then, like warping through space to an entirely separate planet ..there I was, starting at a level horizon with farm fields as far as the eye could see.
Ironically, now that there was no danger to avoid, I couldn't figure out where best to fly and bombed out shortly after arriving in the flats. :)
MEC was the first business to hop on board this project and the catalyst for many of the other sponsors to do the same.
Having begun my journey from their flagship location in Vancouver, BC, it only felt right that I complete this dream by arriving at and expressing my greatest gratitude to the folks at their Calgary store.
Thank you MEC, Ozone, High Adventure, InReach Canada, Goal Zero, Oboz Footwear and the Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival for sharing my vision and believing in my ability to pull it off.
Jordan's hand-illustrated Adventure Map depicting his unprecendented, 1000km solo journey from Vancouver to Calgary, by Paraglider.
Jordan's hand-illustrated Adventure Map depicting his unprecendented, 1000km solo journey from Vancouver to Calgary, by Paraglider. Red represents the portions flown while Green deliniates sections which had to be walked.
Official Film Poster (horizonatal)
Official Film Poster & Cover Art (portrait)