The first step is a doosey, right? That’s what they all say. Well, I got something for ya… it sure the heck is! The plane travels up to 12,000 feet, nerves all on alert, tingling as breaths become shorter and shorter. Your palms begin to sweat, your mouth goes dry and the buildings become teeny tiny, until all you see are the shapes of the mountains, the roads, the land twists and turns are the visions that reflect in your eyes. That is until the guy you are attached to says, “Put on your googles”, and jostles you to ensure you are fully attached to his body. Then you hear it.
The sound of the metal door opening and you see the excitement on the faces and in the eyes of those around you. Your feeling is more like having your heart shoved up into your larynx. “Scoot forward”, the man on your back shouts. Your body complies, but your mind is screaming, “What the hell am I thinking”? You get close enough to the door that you become frozen when you see landscape from a perspective you’ve only seen from the inside of a plane that stays shut when you fly into the sky. You are effectively pushed towards the door, baby step by baby step. The rule is to place your hands on your harness. Instead your hands go to the frame of the door because that next step is one hell of a long way down. You smell the fuel, and can feel the wind slapping at your suit. That oversized jerk that on your back removes one of your hands from the door and places it on your harness. He goes for the other. Son of a…. your brain stops working and your other hand goes back to the frame. It’s like a dance that you have no idea that is taking place, and then it happens. He gets both of your hands pressed to your harness and pushes one big push. Oh for the love of God, what just happened? You took one last step, for whose kind??? Hell you can’t even scream. It’s a sudden rush. One that you have never felt before. A roller coaster doesn’t do this, a plane doesn’t do this, but jumping out of a plane for the first time, DOES.
Your heart flies the rest of the way up, but you don’t get that weird belly dropping feeling. It appears this is true since you aren’t feeling the G’s from the sudden up and down. Instead you just drop, like a really large rock to the bottom of a pond. It is hard to breathe because the air is very cold and the tilt of your head. You have to adjust to get the air in. You hear the flapping of your suit and your goggles get a little foggy.
The altimeter spins down down down, and you freefall for 45 seconds, which seems like an hour. The ground is getting closer and then it happens. The sudden launch straight up, your legs kick forward and then, quiet. It gets so quiet. That monkey behind you becomes less of a jerk now that he has the controls in his hand and it becomes so peaceful. You float like you are on a cloud and have fallen into silence, complete silence.
As you get closer and closer to the ground, you feel like you can reach out and touch the houses, the hangar, the trees. You are a giant. It’s like a feeling you have never felt. You place your thumb and forefinger out and can squish the little house. Oh, look at that, there goes the tree… squish squish. After four minutes of enjoying the peace you can see the next step is another doosey. You are going to impact the ground, maybe easily, may not, but you are going to hit it! Time to prep.
As we get towards the ground, the not so big jerk says lift your legs when I say lift because if you don’t this may hurt. Ok, I can do this, no problem. The ground is coming up quickly, way too quickly. Lift legs when he says lift. Check. Ok, ready and he pulls the toggles down, and “lift”. We drop, but slowly. Weird I thought keeping the legs lifted and touchdown. Three steps later and the parachute drops in front of us. Well, hell, that didn’t hurt at all. The big smiles come out and the congratulations begin with a high five on the side. That was AWESOME!!!
He begins gathering the chute after disconnecting himself from you, and that’s when you begin to find your senses. You can feel your heart beating out of your chest, and then you start to sweat. The effects of the adrenaline make your knees begin to buckle. The feeling: overwhelmingly amazing. Like nothing else you’ve ever felt before. Your body is shaky, but your mind says, “We gotta do that again”! And so I did 😉
Stay tuned… there’s more!
Hope you all are out there enjoying your travels! I’d love to hear about your adventures.. so feel free to share!