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Elastic As A Lifeline

“Sweet as Bro.”  That’s the carefree Kiwi term tossed around like an American Football.  But our hearts and minds were not carefree at the moment.  Not when hundreds of rubber bands are affixed to your ankles and 700 feet below you lies a shallow creek with jagged rocks ready to impale you.  3…2…1…Jump!

Suspended Gondola View From Trolley Gondola and Trolley

Ash’s Bungy Experience

Reach!This time last year, my friend Jacalu said to me, “Ash, you have no fear.”  If only that were true.  I fear Greg’s gaseous mornings, dinosaurs, and dirty cutlery.  Bungy jumping never made my heart palpatate like dancing to “Stairway to Heaven” in 7th Grade with Evin Beck.  Once New Zealand made our shortlist of must see countries, I longed to throw myself off a Kiwi bridge, platform, or gondola.  That longing transformed quickly to a tight knot in my stomach after watching a brunette gal scream bloody murder as she bolted downward head first.  And this was from the viewing platform affixed to solid rock.  Boarding the cart which ferries thrill seekers to the actual jump gondola added fuel to the fire.  The blustery wind (our 12:00pm slot was rescheduled for 2:30pm due to gusts), the increasing height, and tight quarters were a potent mix!  Once on the gondola, my nerves cleared like a late afternoon thunderstorm.  Watching Greg prepare to jump made my heart race, but once he was back safely, everything was hunky-dory.  Even while being fitted into ankle harnesses and receiving imperative instructions, I was cool, calm, and collected.

Really?  Two Thumbs Up? Cool Customer We Have Liftoff

Shuffling to the plank edge didn’t even create anxiety.  Three seconds later, all bets were off.  Falling, falling, falling.  The rocky stream below and the surrounding canyon rushing towards my blue eyes of terror.  Panic.  Wondering if the bungy rope would ever engage, I experienced something never felt before.  My body had an overwhelming feeling of preparing for a shock.  This seemingly infinite fall was my kryptonite.  But oh so softly, my descent slowed and my confused body joyfully joined the increasingly slackened rope.  Upon realizing the bungy had been engaged, both my hands instinctively were placed on my head and I breathed for the first time.  On the second bungy, I performed the midair situp and released my shackled ankles and flipped around into a comfortable repelling position.  The canyon walls and river below no longer resembled heartless killers.  Back on the platform, my thoughts/feelings were processed and I came to understand that in panic situations like this, your brain lacks the required time to make rational decisions.  Your body simply reacts.  The intense feeling of bungy jumping is wholly different from skydiving because the proximity of the ground makes eventual outcomes happen in an instant.  The experience was unforgettable, but one I plan not to repeat.  When wanting an adrenaline rush at terminal velocity, I will stick to skydiving.  Strange as that might be.

Rapid Descent Gulp Sweet As Bro

Greg’s Bungy Experience

Exhale NowAshley just loves to recount the tears welling up in my eyes when recounting my experience.  Oh how she loves embellishing a tale!  For the record, this is not an accurate account.  However, riding the “trolley” across the abyss below to the gondola suspended between two towering mountains, I was having serious second thoughts.  If AJ Hacket (bungy operator) would have said, “you may opt out, 100% refund, you are a sissy,” who knows what I would have done.  But they didn’t and here I was standing on a floating hulk of steel, my thoughts confused due to the reverberating Top 40 music blaring over tiny Bose speakers.  Order of bungy jumper is done by weight, so Ash watched intently as my harness and ankles were rigged with the elastic rope.  Sitting in the dentist chair, as they called it, I was near panic.  The time had come.  Ankles knotted together, my feet shuffled themselves to the edge of the thin plank.  Foolishly, I took one glance down.  Then applied all focus to the mountain top ahead and listened closely to instructions from the curly haired Jump Master.  Sensing my sincere fright, he turned the screws on me by messing with the countdown and assuring me it had been a long day, that he wasn’t sure the rigging was correct.  Hilarious.

Face of Excitement Do What??? Not One More Step 

3…2…1… My knees bent then sprung.  My shaking arms formed a crippled swan dive as I screamed at the top of lungs.  The most terrified I have ever been.  It had been ninety minutes of nerves since we departed Queenstown and they were dashed in a blink.  Pure terror now pure bliss.  The free feeling was like no other and as I plummeted to the Earth, I didn’t want it to end.  Gently, I came to a stop and slowly bounced toward the origin of the jump.  Clapping, screams of joy, huge smile.  I had conquered my #1 fear (not sure what has replaced it).  On the second recoil the jumper is supposed to release their ankle harness and flip around into a seated position. No such luck for me and with every drop of blood rushing to my head, I was pulled back to the gondola, upside down, for what seemed like an eternity.  Back on the jumping platform, I spied Ashley and gave her a smile from ear to ear, my eyes now severely bloodshot.  Once we decided to pursue our dream of traveling the world, bungy jumping in Queenstown was cemented as a must do.  Now twelve months of worry was over.  Way over!

AHHHHHH No Turning Back Ant in the Sky

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

1) Greg – If you have a fear, tackle it head on.  Easier said then done, so I thought.  It was a liberating experience, one that I will draw in the future when needed.
2) Ash – Don’t be intimidated by other jumpers nor let their fears cloud your mind.  Focus on the jump itself, step up to the platform, do not hesitate, then make the leap!  Hesitation is paralyzing, as we saw first hand.

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