Sunday I took a leap, that completely changed my world.
On a work trip to the Las Vegas Market a few months ago, I found myself high atop the Stratosphere hotel, hanging over the edge, swinging around in circles over the 10 pm nightlights of Vegas. Instead of screaming, or crying, or backing out of the ride the last second, like several poor individuals before me, I found myself flooded with an entirely different emotion.
I wanted to jump. I wanted to jump out of my seat and fly over all of the city lights. The seat was too tight. The safety bars were too restricting. The ride was fine, sure, but I needed to get out of the seat and jump.
I’ve always been a “safe-child”, as my mom explains it. My mom tells stories of me being afraid to climb trees, or slowing down because I was running too fast and might fall. I have no idea where this feeling came from, but it hit me that night so overwhelmingly, that I knew I needed to find a way to jump.
That’s when I began my research. Living outside of Portland, Oregon, leaves me a little more lucky I found out. I live about an hour and a half drive from the country’s largest legal Bungee Jump site. Bungee.com is located in a small town called Amboy, Washington nestled near TumTum Mountain. I signed up to jump directly through their website, paid my deposit of $50 and waited for the weekend.
I did print off directions directly from the site. This ended up being extremely helpful, as the directions over GPS sent us a half hour in the wrong direction. It is pretty difficult to find and poorly signed. The directions on the site say to look for an orange cone on a post. What they fail to tell you is that the turnoff looks more like a construction site, leaving the cone pretty easy to miss. If you hit the Hint, if you hit the Giford Pinchot National Forest sign, you’ve gone way, way to far.
When you park in the lot, there’s not a whole lot of signage that explains where to go from there either. You head back out of the parking lot and turn right onto the road that runs along the side of the lot and head down about a .5 mile dirt road. You head underneath several zip lining baskets, so you know you’re heading the right way.
Once at the bridge, I was put through “jump-school” with about ten other individuals who had to be as crazy as I was. I learned the jump ends up being around 191 feet, directly off a platform on the side of the trestle bridge and brings you 25 feet from the water before springing you back up.
The first question I’ve been asked by anyone who asks about this bungee trip is always “Were you scared?!”
No. Not at all.
I couldn’t wait to jump. I couldn’t do it soon enough. In fact, after they fastened my harness, tightened it, performed the two saftey checks and I climbed over the railing to stand on the platform, they began counting…. “1…2… “and I leaped. He didn’t even get to 3.
The jump was worth every penny of the $107. The staff was extremely professional and I found out later the owner used to do the rigging etc for stunts on MTV’s the Real World / Road Rules shows. He also does a week long trip to Chile, where he takes people to bungee IN an actual volcano!
The whole Bungee experience took about an hour. I got there at 1 pm and jumped at 1:47. The jump itself lasted only a few seconds. By the time I registered my feet were no longer on the platform, I was already at the bottom of the jump and bouncing back up. Prior to jumping, my biggest concern was the bottom of the jump. I was worried that it might hurt your back or neck as you suddenly decelerate and quickly accelerate the opposite direction, but it doesn’t. I’m sure one of the guides could explain it way better than my lame knowledge, but the cords absorb the shock before it even hits your body and change the direction without your neck (or back) having to.
I’m no longer the “safe child”.
I don’t know when this happened, but I can’t tell you how much this jump changed the way I view myself. Fear has held me back from so many things in life. I don’t have that fear anymore. I want to seek out all of these experiences and see how much I can grow.
Oh & big thanks to Casey Dale for creating this experience and sharing it with me (& a whole lot of other people). Visit Bungee.com here to sign up for your adventure! (If you jump twice, you can become a member of the Dangerous Sports Club and are able to jump the next time you visit for only $45!) & sidenote: They’ve been open and operating for 27 years, and had no deaths.. so if that’s the part that scares you, it’s a nonexistent fear.
What would you do if you could overcome your biggest fear? What is this fear holding you back from?