Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Gotta write it out before I forget too much.

Skydiving. Holy crap, it was amazing.

Earlier in the week, I started to get nervous. On the three-hour drive out to Moab with Heather, Jana, and Jacob, I wasn't nervous anymore. Signing my life away, my hand started to shake. Walking to the hanger, I calmed down again. Watching the "safety" video, I got butterflies. Dressing in the overalls, I was excited. Watching other skydivers jump from the little plane up in the sky and then land in the dirt, I was giddy.

The plane. Guys, the plane was... tiny and old. And the interior was really being held together by duct tape. No joke. Not that I thought the plane would fall apart or anything; I really wasn't too nervous about it, except that it looked pretty... haggard. It was dang funny. I mean, here I am, getting into this tiny little ghetto plane that looks like it's gonna fall apart with the slightest touch. I promise, the plane was the scariest part of this experience. So much turbulence. There were a lot of slight drops in altitude and those scared me more than what I was about to do. I kid you not. I had to keep telling myself that if the plane fell apart, at least I was strapped to a professional, experienced, trained skydiver with a (hopefully) working parachute. Now that the scary part has been told, let me tell you about the dive.

I got in the plane with my legs toward the rear and the expert (Ben) climbed in behind me with his legs straddling me. There was a solo skydiver in the plane with us, and he jumped from a lower elevation, so I got that "cold gush of wind" when the door opened for him. Then the pilot tipped the plane sideways to bang the door closed. Holy. Sh*t. (Remember, this plane is scary.) Ben went over the brief jump-training I'd had on the ground (three times by three different people, including the expert to whom I was currently strapped--so yes, this is Round Four). He asked if I was ready. I said, with a little quiver that I hope was covered by the noise of the wind and the plane, "Yes." The pilot pushed the button to open the door, Ben swung out one of his legs, instructed me to swing both of mine out one at a time and to perch on the edge of the plane with my feet resting on this tiny little itty-bitty rod, then he swung out his other leg, yelled in my ear, "Here we go, 1-2-3," as fast as you just now read it, and we were falling. (In the photo below, we're the white dot kind of in the middle.)

Falling...falling...falling. My hands were up in the air, my heart was beating hard, I couldn't catch a breath, and it was a thrill. SO. EXCITING. Way too much fun. We dropped for about twenty seconds, but it felt like five. Then Ben pulled the chute and our decent slowed. He pointed out different sights, let me "control" our direction by pulling each side of the chute so we spun left, then right, then sailed. I couldn't stop grinning and whooping for joy. Woooooohooooo!!!!!! "I can see why you'd want to do this everyday," I said. "Yep, not a bad job," Ben replied. And we landed (on our feet, I'll have you know.)

Jacob came running toward me with a grin on his face (and with missing his two front teeth, let me tell you, that grin is the best thing in this world) and said that he and my sisters could hear me yelling from up high. He then challenged me to run over to Heather and Jana, saying he'd bet he could beat me. I laughed and said, "I know you could. My legs feel like jelly and I can barely walk!"

I bought the video and photos. I'll try to get them posted as soon as I get them.

This experience was amazing. The rush, the sights, even the jelly-legs when we landed. So much fun. And I'm so glad that Heather, Jana, and Jacob went with me. It was good to have them there to support me and cheer me on (if "You're crazy" and "I hope that plane can hold you guys" are considered cheering me on...). It was also super nice to not have to drive all the way to Moab and back by myself, so thank you very much for being my buddies today!

Mom, Dad, Marie, Grandpa and Grandma Chinn: Thank You!!! This was the best Christmas present ever!!!

By the way, Mom found this deal through Groupon. The company is called Skydive Canyonlands. And even though the plane was a little scary (and really, none of those little planes looked a lot better--they're just so small), it was a really great experience. These people know what they're doing, are super friendly, answered all of my questions, were no-nonsense but totally laid-back. I recommend Skydive Canyonlands to anyone. Way fun.

UPDATE: Here are a few more photos. Enjoy!

Scary Tiny Plane

About to Jump


Back on Solid Ground