Thursday, August 25, 2011

#4- Go skydiving.

On August 19, one day before my birthday, I completed the most daring, improbable and most talked about goal on my 25 Things to do before I turn 25.

I went skydiving. (For those not wanting details, the video is at the bottom of the post.)

It wasn't until my 25th birthday snuck up that I decided it was time to commit. The Benson family reunion in Zions was scheduled over my birthday, so it seemed like fate. Jacob is not into heights (read: terrified) so I had to convince someone else to jump with me. Enter David, Jacob's eldest brother.

We drove a little over an hour to Hurricane airport to report for training at Skydive Zion. (Shout out to Rick! You were/are awesome!) We signed our lives away (literally) with waiver forms instructing us that if we die we cannot sue. The advice I was given before we went was to just sign the waiver and not read it because it WILL make you second guess.

Then we watched a training video featuring this guy as their lawyer......

ZZ Top was a lawyer for a skydiving company in another life.

We did some training on the ground. I am learning how to free fall properly. Apparently, free falling is more than just falling. Proper arm placement and a good back arch is all you need.

Pre-jump. One last family photo.... just in case. :)

Rick filming me for my video. Best spent money ever.
And Rick is the BEST instructor. More than 8,000 jumps under his belt. I felt very safe in his hands.

Practicing in the teeniest plane ever. No seats for me and Rich. Just chillin' on the floor.

Getting ready.... and we're off!

The plane ride up takes about 15 to 20 minutes. It seems longer on the ground but it felt really quick. Rick pointed out all of the beautiful scenery and when we finally reached our ascension, we were at 11,000 feet.

Once we hit destination point, Rick tightened the harness on both of us tighter and it was time to go. We scooted up to the front next to Roger and then they opened the door. It was so cold and the wind was so loud!

I was so nervous before. I knew that I was going to jump because I was committed. But I still was nervous/anxious, etc. But right before the big jump I got a huge sense of calm for the last 1,000 feet of ascension. But once he opened the door, that sense of calm was gone.

I thought that once they opened the door we would just barrel out and it would be over with. But he opened the door, had us look at the ground below. Next I swung my legs over the edge and set my feet on this little step. Then I scooted my bum to the edge so he could fit behind me. Then I crouched and stood up, held onto my harness and leaned forward into a front wards flip.

From then on, it is hard to recollect what happened. The flip happened so quickly that it was hard for me to discern where we were. The feeling of free falling cannot be described or related to anything else. It was like being in a wind tunnel and feeling weightless. I panicked a bit through my flip and I did the spread eagle a second or two early but it still went smoothly.

Then once we hit 4,000 feet Rick motioned to my parachute line and I got to pull the rip cord myself! That feeling of pulling the parachute was another experience and sensation all on its own. I couldn’t stop screaming in exasperation, happiness and pure shock that I was able to actually do something so crazy.

Once the parachute was pulled, we did a few turns but I started to feel a bit motion sick so I just floated the rest of the way down. We went to land, I pulled hard on the parachute, lifted my legs and the instructor and I landed.

WE DID IT!!!!!!! 

This is by far the craziest thing I have ever done and I LOVED it. 
It went by so fast. I'm sure that I will have to do it again to really experience the full sensation. :)

Note: Before my skydiving experience, Jacob was at a definite 'hell no' whether he would go or not. I think we might have squeaked him to a flat 'no' now. Progress, friends.

The whole video rocks, but the action starts at 4 minutes in.

This is by far the coolest thing on my 25 Before 25, if not the coolest thing I have done ever.

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