Activities: Free falling

By By Jessica Dunn

By Jessica Dunn

What’s on your list of things to do before you die? Are you making them happen?

I checked one off recently. Maybe it’s on your list, too.

Skydiving.

It’s a true adrenaline rush. I’ve never felt anything like it. Specific details of my fall come and go, but most of it is still just a blur. I can only describe the experience as awesome.

It seemed like any other Saturday to me. I honestly wasn’t scared and, surprisingly, I wasn’t even that excited. I don’t know why, because I’ve wanted to do it for years.

Even all the buzz around me didn’t make me nervous. I was fine for the entire car ride during which one of my friends continually screamed, “We’re going to jump out of a plane!” And I was still OK when another friend presented us with statistics of dying while skydiving.

For some reason, none of that bothered me. I just wanted to fly.

We finally arrived at the Ogden Skydiving Center and scheduled our flight times.

I searched for the perfect retro-neon jumpsuit and cap and then was fitted into my harness. The reality of it all still hadn’t set in.

I boarded the plane with no hesitation, though the gusts of warm air from the engine hindered my efforts a little.

I started to feel the excitement as everyone crowded into the tiny plane like sardines. We straddled some unstable benches facing the back of the plane. We didn’t have seatbelts or little tray tables to comfort us.

As the plane slowly gained altitude and the cabin grew warmer, my nervousness finally showed up. I started to feel a little sick when I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn’t prepared for this! Shouldn’t we have had a class before? Do I need to put my cap on now? I think my straps are too loose. When are we going to start getting ready?

I was a little anxious for a minute or two. No worries, though — I received my few seconds of instruction and calmed down.

Just cross your arms as we jump out, my instructor said. And arch your back a lot. I’ll tap on your shoulders and you can put your hands out then. Don’t forget to arch.

Got it.

The plane was bursting with excitement as the door was lifted and the cool air rushed in. It was time.

The first tandem jumped out. I was next.

After being strapped securely to my instructor, we awkwardly waddled to the door 13,000 feet above the ground. I blew the cameraman a kiss and we rolled out of the plane into a freefall at 120 mph.

The view was stunning. Houses were the size of ants and roads looked like toothpicks. It’s one thing to look out a plane and see it, but it’s a completely different view when you’re falling toward it.

The free fall maybe lasted 60 seconds. My cheeks didn’t even flap because I couldn’t stop smiling the whole way down. I don’t even remember if I breathed at all. I loved the wind rushing around me. The feeling of flying was incredible.

My instructor pulled our parachute at about 5,000 feet — without any warning to me. We jerked to a stop almost instantly. We glided around, spinning in circles and dipping.

Then we cruised toward the landing strip and slid onto the grass.

It really was the ride of a lifetime. And even though it only lasted a few minutes, I loved every second of it.

Check this one off your list as soon as you can.

[email protected]