…They told us to find the big around and land into the wind. Ok, on the ground this arrow is the size of a truck. In the air, on the other hand, I began to believe someone picked it up and took it inside just to screw with me. I kept looking and kept looking and, NO stinking arrow. Let’s just say I used more expletives in this one trip than Lisa Lampenolli in her entire comedy act. The arrow was gone. So I had to calm myself for a moment and told myself to think. Ding.. here goes the thought that says, “turn around”. Why didn’t I think of that before? Turn around and look for the other skydivers that are already in front of me and see where they are landing. I almost had to slap myself. When your body’s adrenaline takes over, the ability to think can shut down. Gosh, as I turned myself around and looked for just a few more seconds, BAM, there’s the stupid arrow. Ah yes, they brought it back 😉 Ok, I can breathe. I have time. Don’t cross the runway. Don’t cross the fence. The fence? What fence? OH, that one which is electrified. NICE.. ok, turn, do your turn and then, I hear it. My instructor begins to call commands on the radio when I’m at a certain height. He can’t hear me, but I can hear him. He begins directing each jumper into the appropriate landing spot. No problem, right? Wrongggggg again.
I turn and turn and am facing into the arrow. I am good to go. Then I realize where he is directing me is right on top of another jumper that has already landed. So, I toggle a little to the right. When I say a little, you would think a few feet, but you would be wrong. A little on the toggle moved me and my parachute on the far edge of the landing zone, next to that super special fence. I missed the jumper, so problem, but then..
I get closer and closer to the ground. “Prepare to flare” he says. Ok, I got this. A few seconds later I can see I am moving fast. Far too fast to have the ground so close. Then he says, “ok, now flare”. I listen and comply. Well, let’s just say that when you flare and pull the toggles all the way down, it removes the air from under the chute and you drop. This is how you slow down so quickly when it’s done in the right place and at around 6 feet from the ground, it is very effective. If you happen to do it at 10-15 feet from the ground, you drop and “ba-deep-ba-deep badeep, that’s all folks”. There is no air left to stop you from just dropping and it’s like you fell out of a tree. What we found was the fact that I was landing in the pond (not currently filled). Oh yeah, that was me. Because of the 3-5-foot depression where the water would normally be (that looked like the rest of the landing zone), I was not at the 6-8 foot mark and when the air came out, I saw life once again flash before my eyes. As I dropped the thought of, “this is gonna hurt” went through my mind. Ah yes, here we go, One…. Two…Two-and a Half.. oh crap. My right leg went first and the left remained behind. I was entering into a split, sliding through the muddy ground hoping it wasn’t going to hurt when I finally came to a halt. I slid a bit further and the chute fell in front of me, making me almost face plant. Cute, I know. That’s how I roll. I stood and wow, after I finished wondering if anything was broken, the feeling was amazing. The heat radiated off my body and the sweat started rolling. My suit was muddy and I was at the furthest point from the truck. When the adrenaline kicked and heated, my heart pounded and it was hard to catch a breath when lugging that heavy cute back, but I did it. I got back to the truck and what do my 5 year old nieces say??? Auntie Jill, you’re not very good at landing. I just had to crack up laughing. Seriously, I just jumped out of that and managed to save my own life about 5 times in 5 minutes and now this… sheesh. I told them, “I’ll work on it”. I tell ya, what do you do?
And I live another day to tell one more story!
Next step, finishing all of my AFF levels. It’ll probably be another year or so to get the back in good enough shape, but I’m there!
I’d love to hear your experiences…the good, the bad, and the ugly if you get time to share!
Happy Travels All,
Thanks so much for all of your support.