I realize to most of you this statement is in direct opposition to the pictures you see of me climbing mountains and scaling steep rock faces, but REALLY, I'm not a risk taker. Most of the activities I participate in are focused and methodical, and for 26 years skydiving was something I SWORE I would NEVER do! But slowly over time it became more appealing...
I woke up one day and all of my friends were doing it, and DAMMIT! I had to do it too! So onto the 30 Before 30 list 'Skydiving' went (replacing 'Ride the STP'; because I just don't like riding my bike that much and frankly I suck at it).
I signed up on a whim, two days before my friend Allison was set to jump with a group of bros. I called Skydive Snohomish, they could squeeze me in last minute, and that was it, done deal. Our group was scheduled for the last jump on a Sunday afternoon - 4pm. We squeezed 5 adults into my tiny Jetta and drove to the surprisingly beautiful Snohomish airstrip where we watched an informative video, signed our lives away, donned our "flight suits", and waited to board.
|Jumping for joy!|
I'm surprised that I never really got nervous. I was just a ball of EXCITEMENT, and I got EXTRA excited when they let me and Allison wear the tutus I had brought for the occasion. What? The pink tutu has been to the top of Rainier, it might as well jump out of an airplane!
So, of course we did some obligatory ballet moves:
Before we knew it our group was up. Running out of daylight, they loaded 8 jumpers on to the plane and we were off. I have to say, the scenery was stunning. You could see all the volcanoes: Rainier, Baker, Glacier, Adams, Helens, even Mt. Hood! And bonus the San Juan islands, plus the Olympics and Cascades. I love my job but, after the views on this flight, becoming a skydive instructor was suddenly much more appealing.
|load 'em up|
The doors opened at 12,500ft. I watched as Allison fell out of the plane right in front of me, then it was my turn. Following instructions, I hooked my feet under the airplane and tried to lean back.
|Bye bye Allison. Hello my turn =D|
Then we were falling.
Faster and faster we fell.
I screamed. I screamed again. I screamed a third time but stopped when the wind rushing in my mouth was going faster than I could push back. My mouth went dry and I remember thinking, "Man, I screamed a lot and we are STILL falling." So I screamed one more time. For good measure.
|Pure. Unadulterated. Bliss.|
I was overwhelmed by the sensation of SPEED! The two littlest on the airplane, my tandem-dive instructor Jordan and I probably only got up to about 120mph. Phsaw, only 120....
Then the parachute deployed and we were floating on a cloud. I cannot describe the sensation of the parachute opening - you all should really just experience it for yourselves - but it was something else. I never got that "stomach flip" feeling as I might have anticipated. Just...floating on awesomeness.
At one point we scooted over and said hello to Allison. "Oh, hey buddy, I didn't see you there."
|"I couldn't help but notice you... noticing me." Allison in the foreground, me in the background.|
Once we were done taking in the views, and they were spectacular (the sun was setting over all of the aforementioned mountains and sound - really really really pretty), Jordan and I did some quick maneuvers, lots of spins and such with the parachute. This hurled us to the ground much quicker than Allison's genteel float, so I waited there for her with much excitement!
|Round and round and round we go - where we land? I hope Jordan knows!|
|Safe and sound! This is my face of pure bliss.|
|Allison coming in HOTT!|
|Best friend FACE|
I cannot say enough good things about this amazing experience. The people at Skydive Snohomish were absolutely fantastic and made sure we all had the best time ever. Which really, how could you not? It's freaking skydiving!
The verdict? I want to go skydiving. Every Day. Always. It was THAT fun. And you know what? It's only like $2500 to get fully trained to go solo whenever you want. Not that I'm considering it...but I'm not NOT considering it.
So...if you're thinking about a Christmas present for me (or someone else, although that is not nearly as super for me), I HIGHLY recommend a jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. With your best friend. In a tutu.
|Yes I really am that short|