Freefalling….

I have been thinking about how I want to direct the content of this blog, now that the original purpose for its existence is fulfilled.  I believe that I will still be pursuing adventures in my leisure time, ones that include hiking, rock scrambling, rock climbing (hopefully soon), camping, and yes, cycling.  Until my next big adventure, I want to share the wonderful day that my SAT planned for me this weekend to celebrate my birthday.  Everything about the day was a surprise.  The first thing I was told to do on Friday night was to go to bed early, because we “had to meet some people at 6:30am.”  My first thought was that we were going to go on a long, difficult hike that required a very early start.  Cool!  So, we went to bed early and got up just after 5am.  (Yes, that hurt a little bit.)  As we were driving to the yet-unknown destination, I tried to guess where we were going to hike.

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Me: “Well, we’re not going to Red Rock, since we’re passing the exit…”

SAT: [smug grin]

A few moments later….

Me: “Maybe we’re doing Black Mountain?”

SAT: [smirk]

Upon spotting the signs directing the way to Boulder City….

Me: “We’re SKYDIVING??”

SAT: [guffawing with laughter]

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A long time ago, back when we were both barely of legal age, I said that I wanted to skydive and would totally do it with my SAT.  He remembered this and filed it away for an opportune moment.  That moment had arrived.  The whole skydiving experience was excellent and the instructors at Skydiving Las Vegas had everything down to a science.  Upon our arrival at 6:30am, we were given paperwork to complete in a small room that also had a short training video playing.  After running through some basic body positions (cross arms before jumping, banana position while in the air, etc.), we changed into our jumpsuits and got into the plane.  I immediately noticed that I was the last of our group to enter the plane (the lightest person in the group gets on the plane last and is seated at the back, near the wings), which meant that I would be the FIRST to jump.  On the bright side, I had the best seat on the plane, as I was right beside the exit door and windows, which gave me great views.

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(Photos 1-2: Beautiful views of Lake Mead.  Photo 3: With my jump instructor, John.)

About 10 minutes or so before jumping, John opened the exit door to give me a breath of fresh air:

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(This just got real.)

Just about to jump!  Note my SAT in the background, grinning like a fool.  He was looking forward to seeing me jump:

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I was NOT ready to jump at all.  John told me to cross my arms, bend my legs backward toward the plane, and “…are you READY?  LET’S GO!!!!” and he pushed us out of the plane before my brain realized what was happening! The actual falling-out-of-the-plane part wasn’t scary and there wasn’t that weird stomach-in-throat sensation because you’re falling at the same speed as the wind and plane (100+ mph).  I found it difficult to breathe because of the wind pushing against my chest and face.  The instructors will tell you to scream, as that helps you to breathe!  (I didn’t scream, though.)  Freefalling lasted about 8 seconds, then John pulled the chute open, which jerked us upwards.  After that, everything was quiet because there wasn’t any wind and we were just floating.

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(Just after jumping!)

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(Yahoo!)

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(My SAT is stoked!)

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(Checking out the views.)

All too soon, it was time to land.  John told me to bring my legs up as we approached the ground:

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(Photo 1: Touchdown!  Photo 2: Back on solid ground.)

I would TOTALLY do that again.  Super fun!  I can’t describe the sensation of freefalling or floating, but it was definitely the closest I’ll come to being a bird in flight.  My SAT did a fabulous job of surprising me!

But wait!  Since we were finished so early, we decided to head back home and go for a hike for real.  I suggested we hike the ridgeline on the mountain across from our place, so that’s what we did.  Here are a few pictures from that little adventure:

IMG_9788 (Top of first summit!)IMG_9789

(Our hike continued to the next two summits you see in the right half of the photo.)

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(Fortunate to enjoy rugged hiking right across the street!)

Finally, to cap off all that fun adventuring, we enjoyed a lovely dinner on the Strip.  Perfect day and wonderful memories made that will last a lifetime!

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(Hey, we’re not wearing our cycling clothes!)