Last weekend my friends and I met up with $200 each and took a plunge…literally. We were at Skydive the Ranch, an establishment in Gardiner, New York that caters to thrill seekers hoping to free fall for thousands of feet. A few weeks prior, we had discussed the possibility of skydiving with enthusiasm, ultimately deciding that we should make a reservation and go for it. When the time came to drive to the Ranch, I was not so certain, in fact I spent most of the hour long ride thinking about my plans for the weekend, food…essentially anything other than what I was about to do.
When we arrived, I was surprised to find the property bustling with activity as skydivers floated onto the expansive green, newbies got comfortable in their harnesses, and onlookers took to the observation deck. Only an hour later I too was in a harness, watching the parachutes gently collapse after a successful jump and mentally preparing myself for the 13,000 foot descent.
The preparation consisted of two videos, an overview from the staff, and a relatively quick conversation with my tandem skydiver. (Until you become certified, you are required to jump with a more experienced, professional skydiver). Before I knew it, we were hustling onto the plane and sliding down the benches with our partners. (I was able to bring my GoPro video camera with me, so these screenshots were taken from the footage).
As we climbed, my anxieties slipped away and were replaced by confidence both in my preparation, and in my partner’s abilities. I was flooded with adrenaline.
Finally the time came to jump, and with a wave to my buddy I was airborne, sailing through clouds, open air, and sunshine. As I landed and regained my bearings, I realized that the experience was like no other, and I couldn’t wait to do it again.