My Bungy Jumping Experience
Finally … I’m leaping!
There are worse places to be stranded than Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand. In fact, when I was here as a student four years ago, I used the last of my calling card to tell parents I’d found their retirement spot. (They’ve since decided on a more traditional and accessible route: Florida.)
In any case, after my unexpected layover, I wanted to hit the road early to minimize the risk of losing my bungy reservation. My plan was to rise with the sun and get moving. When my alarm sounded at 6:30 am, there was no sign of light on the horizon. I took my time getting ready, and an hour later as the car warmed up it was still pitch black. Anxious to get going, and with my tires still armed with the snow chains, I crept slowly out of the sleeping town.
But as the sun eventually made its way over the mountains, with it came better luck. The weather and roads were clear. The friendly gal at the bungy office pushed my jump time back a few hours without a problem. I made it to Queenstown smoothly, and although I couldn’t be refunded for the previous night, the Mercure Queenstown Resort gave me a free upgrade to a lakeview room, which was ready for an early check-in.
I had some extra time, but just try to relax an hour before a bungy jump four years in the making: not possible. I made my way into town and decided to find some Internet access. If the cord was going to snap, at least I’d leave an everlasting Facebook status conveying my excitement to the end.
The 45-minute ride out to the jump is almost scarier than the plunge itself. To get up and over the edge of the canyon, the van full of already-nervous passengers hugs the side of a sheer cliff. Some people were snapping pictures while others were leaning towards the inside of the curves. Never before this trip have I so appreciated the engineering behind tires.
Finally, signed in and harnessed up, we started making our way out to the bungy pod/space station in small groups. As the nervous chatter continued, I wasn’t too distracted to notice how hot one of the staffers was and tried to smile at him. Unfortunately, I don’t think terror really mixes well with come-hither glances.
Once out there, everything went quickly. Jumpers were going in weight order, from heaviest to lightest, and there were a few people ahead of me. Before I knew it, I was on deck and my heart was racing. I climbed into the “gyno chair,” as they described it – with stirrups and all – to get briefed and clipped in.
I had to endure a slight delay before my jump; they were downsizing bungy cords. Even in my nervousness, I couldn’t help but be quietly pleased that I was in a new weight class, requiring a smaller cord. But now all those jumps before me meant nothing in the “well, they’ve all survived so I should be fine” mentality. Gulp.
Surprisingly, though, as soon as I got to my feet and shuffled to the edge, my fear began dissipating. I knew I was going no matter what, so there was no use for internal debate. I got a quick countdown from five and lept into the abyss.
Here’s a rough estimation of what went through my head in the ensuing seconds:
“Keep your eyes open! Wow, I’m falling fast. The wind is so loud. This is fun! I’m still falling?! Oh good, there’s the tension. That wasn’t uncomfortable at all. Uh oh, here comes the second drop. How cool, now it’s totally silent. It’s just me, all by myself, floating in this giant canyon. Ok, time to pull that little cord at my ankle. Ah, much better enjoying the view from sitting up. Just so quiet and beautiful. How extraordinary. It’s over?”
The whole thing was over so quickly, yet I had felt every moment. There really is nothing like a good adrenaline rush to awaken your senses.
I got back to my hotel room feeling completely accomplished. The roadblocks of the previous night were a distant memory. As weightless as a goal might seem, it feels great to cross it off the list.
For all the Betty daredevils out there, I encourage you to take a plunge – it feels great!
Read Megan’s last blog: My Bungy Jumping Experience (part I)