Wisconsin Slope Flying Site near Black Earth
by Clayton Greaves
Ceder Ridge Campground
is located 20 minutes drive from Madison’s West side on highway 78 midway between Black Earth WI and Prairie Du Sac Wi. 78 crosses US 14 a couple miles West of Black Earth, turn North on 78.
Below several pictures describing the approach from the south via Black Earth. Turn Right off Highway 78 to Dunlop Hollow Road approximately 5 miles up the road.
The images show the approch to the slope, road sign, the campground entry, the next shows the road up the back side of the slope and the final shot, with the cross is the slope site. If you look carefully at the approach shot the slope is visible in the background. Magnify and look for a white cross at the very top of the face of the hill…
This slope faces Southwest. Huge lift in 15+mph. South winds are blocked by a nearby hill. West winds are workable but increasingly challenging.due to obstructing trees and the lack of a west facing pilot position.
This is a foamy only site with very little margin for error on landing. The narrow landing area behind the pilot position at the cross is surrounded by high trees. In strong winds you fly over the top and drop down in the campsite behind. Hairy stuff, especially for the uninitiated.
Camping is available though primitive. The owner welcomes glider fliers and there is a camp fee box at the entrance shack where I drop a $5 bill as I pass. Rarely do I see any sign of life at the gate.
The area is infamous for its proliferation of folks of, shall we say “alternative” sexual orientation- Mazomanie nude beach overflow is my theory here…Overnighting at Cedar Hills is not high on my “adventure meter”, though the idea of awaking and immediately stepping out onto a slope is quite appealing.
The solid granite faces of the hill are rugged going when descending to claim a downed plane… beepers pay off here. I once hit the stone, nose in, “full tilt boogie” in combat with my original Zagi LE. The wing bounced several feet, rolled inverted, wabbled and continued to fly away… Amazing and memorable stuff. Pine trees around the crest provide cover from falling (plane) debris – kind of… In a head on collision my wing went belly to the wind and charged back at us and through the pilot position it impacted a tree at a dangerously high rate of speed and feet from my startled opponent–“crunch, splinter” .. ” I planned that”. The evergreen in question is to the right in the cross photo. This is the best and relatively safest place to stand. There is a nice swing out there on the corner but the best seat is right on the stone face, feet dangling over in the wind.
Plan dinner or cocktails at the new Rookies restaurant at the 14 and 78 intersection, then go buy rock climbing shoes at the famous and prolific Shoe Box shoe store in Black Earth a mile East. Both local landmarks are owned by the same fellow.
Cedar Hills fills a role for Madison slope- a- holics who for need of time or spousal leave- can’t make time to trek long distance to Platteville. Despite the challenges in landing this site can be huge fun in favorable wind conditions. Leave your balsa and composite ships at home, bring a foamie and someone to chase.