This photo is from August 1998 when we went to SKY DIVE Oregon
As we headed east towards Mollala Oregon and the jump center, the day was clear, the air dry and the temperature was going to peak out at 85+ on this particular August Sunday in 1998. My adrenaline was starting to climb as we drove nearer to the field, I was so excited. I remember answering my boyfriend’s query of “was I afraid”…my mind clear and happy, said ‘heck NO.”
Registering is arduous and you literally sign away any rights to sue should your jump be less than perfect….(meaning you aren’t walking away from your landing) and you sign a multitude of forms. With each signing, a employee explains just what you will be doing next once we paid our $170.00 (each) with Mike providing an additional $30 for a early model GoPRO camera on top of another master jumper’s helmet. (He would jump after we left the plane and capture my journey all the way to the ground.) I am still determined and barely able to contain my excitement, listening intently to instructions and explanations.
We go through the next steps of getting introduced to the master jumpers who will be hooked to us, showing us the gear, outfitting us with harness, protective eye-ware AND the ‘morceau de résistance’ – my Rocky (think Rocky & Bullwinkle) hat. Jamming my shoulder length hair into that was fun. I looked ridiculous and did not care, I was going to jump. A tour of the plane and what would happen once we were on board, a final query about our ‘wanting’ to jump and we climbed aboard. Should the answer to this question, upon becoming air-borne be NO – your trip is over. You can not change that NO into a Yes again. This we learned at 4,000′ – or half way up.
Once settled on the floor of our Cessna 206 and climbing, my ‘master’ asked me at 2,000′, 4,000′, and again at 8,000′ if I was still wanting to jump…without a moment’s hesitation I would answer “yes!” He could have asked me a million times….but I was jumping on this day.
The moment arrived where we were at 10,000′ and we made our way to the open doorway, he snapped into my harness and carefully he guided my hands to the wing struts outside the plane and on the command ‘release’ which he yelled into my ear we shot back and down. Yelling “chute” our horizontal became vertical and with that we ‘floated’ as if on a cloud down, down, down as my eyes took in the landscape of farmland, valley floor and the Cascades to the east. I was weightless, light as a feather, the rush of air slamming against my body, the ground rushing towards me and all I couldn’t swivel my head fast enough to see all that was zooming towards me.
As the ground became closer, he reminded me to ‘run with my legs’ and we hit the ground faster than my legs and I slid into our target zone laughing (think baseball runs, but feet first) and as he separated us I jumped up and yelled “When can we do this again?” My body in motion as legs twitched, my heart pounding, the wind swirling my hair around my head as I attempted to accept that my once bucket list item had been completed successfully.
We stayed and watched others jump and land. We left the airfield. I was happier than I had been in a very long time. I awoke the next morning knowing that I from that day forward my experience could only be described as being ‘the most empowering act of self trust and courage” I had ever done up to that point.
The look on my face says it all…happiness is allowing yourself to fly.