A Day in the Life

A Photoblog by Joel

Let’s Let Go of a Kite

July 1, 2020

The new kites arrived, delivered pretty quickly. The kids were both so excited to go flying that we left right away. Unfortunately there wasn’t much wind around so our first flight was a bust.

I knew the wind would kick up later in the evening though, so after dinner we drove over to the church and got set up in the big playfield behind. Lots of space and lots of grass. Within a handful of minutes both kites were up in the air and both kids having a blast. It was perfect!

I bought some pretty great kites for the kids from Into the Wind, a kite store based out of Boulder, Colorado. They took a few days to get here but were worth the wait. Just under 4′ wide and with the tail come in at over 7′ tall.

Elle’s is a butterfly.
Emmett’s is a T-Rex

Everything was going great. Until it wasn’t.

Oops.

I was trying to get some pictures of the kids when Elle said ‘Oops’ and I glance over to see her kite handle running along the ground at a pretty quick pace. I jumped up and started to chase it as fast I could. The edge of the field was coming up quickly and I was fast approaching the fence covered in bushes and thorns. As I braced for impact I saw the handle just barely out of my grasp and whip up and over the fence. See ya later kite!

Upset I turned back towards the kids to wrap up Emmett’s kite and see if could figure out where the kite would go down. Only it didn’t go down! It just kept on soaring, but soon stopped. The handle must’ve snagged on something! Lucky day. We packed up and I dropped the kids off at home and then went scouting for the kite.

I found it just a few blocks away from our house, the handle snagged on some branches about 20′ up a tree. I looked up at it quite stumped on how to get it down. I drove home to get our 12′ ladder and on the drive remembered that we had several long pieces of PVC pipe and some connectors. Maybe I could make a long, tall pipe with a hook on the end to snag to line and bring it down. Worth a shot!

After fashioning my pole, I walked over to the tree and did my best to snag that line way up high. PVC isn’t very sturdy and boy was that pole wobbly. I did manage to hook the line, though, and started to pull it down. But then… the handle broke free and the kite zipped away again. The handle bounced along the ground and then up over a house and hit a power line, wrapping itself up and stopping the progress. I had another chance!

After trying unsuccessfully to grab the line from below, one of the nearby homeowners finally came home and I got permission to get up on the roof. I took my wobbly pole, reached out, hooked the line… and off the kite went again. Clearly I wasn’t learning my lesson. This time it jumped across another street, through a yard and once again wrapped itself up around a power line.

Third time’s the charm, right? After setting up a wobbly ladder, the previous homeowner (who had decided to join the adventure) managed to actually slide the PVC hook in to the handle and began to pull the line down. Success! For a moment. Until the line broke. He wasn’t pulling the kite down, he was just stretching it past the breaking point. BUT, the kite stayed afloat. The line was still wrapped tight and the kite wasn’t going anywhere.

By this time dusk was approaching and it was time to call it a night. I packed up and headed home defeated. From my bedroom window, as the sun was setting, I could look at and see that butterfly kite flying high and strong in a nice, gusty, evening wind. Pretty cool! By this point most of the 300′ of line was out, so it was well over 100′ in the air.

A couple hours later I ventured out in the dark to see if the kite was still there. As I got closer I could hear it rustling in the wind. I pulled out my 300 lumen flashlight and spotted it pretty easily. Plenty of wind keeping it afloat.

Pretty amazing to be honest. It was pushing 3 hours of flight time. I walked home with a little bit of hope in my heart that by morning the wind would die down and the kite would be found.

Around 7:30 this morning I took a walk down to the corner where I had spotted the kite. I didn’t see the line anywhere. I hoped it would be draped across the road but no such luck. The kite was gone I thought. I then walked over to the power pole to see if I could spot the line and there it was! Still quite taught and very much connected. I knew on the kite end of things the line was very securely attached so I got my hopes up that perhaps the kite did just fall! I kept my eyes on the line and followed it to the street, and over the house on the corner, and into their neighbors backyard. There it was, laying peacefully on the ground behind an unlocked chain link gate. Victory!!

What’s the lesson? Don’t get your kids nice kites. They’re not the most reliable at holding on.

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