Believe it or not, one of my bucket list dreams was to throw myself off of a 200-foot-high bridge. Seriously… I’ve always thought about bungee jumping, but it was really on a whim last summer that I actually booked my spot.
On Sunday, August 26th (2012), my boyfriend Jeff and I were making our way to Route 105, near Wakefield, Quebec, for the “highest bungee jump in the land.” For some people, this kind of adventure is their worst nightmare. They wonder why one would want to do such a thing.
It’s not that I crave the sensation of falling – I enjoy it for the few moments while on a rollercoaster, but that’s about it. André Gide (French author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1947) sums it up well: “It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” I can relate to this as adventure makes me feel powerful, independent and unstoppable. I feel that if I can accomplish this feat, there’s nothing I can’t do. While André Gide experienced adventure in a more personal setting (revolting against his puritanical background), I decided to experience the bungee jump, a classic adventurer’s dream.
Bungee is not Jeff’s cup of tea. He came along to watch and offer support, and resisted any persuasion to bungee jump. I’m no stranger to adventure: I’ve walked across hot coals, joined in a polar bear club swim, and eaten a tequila worm, so although I was feeling some nerves, it wasn’t an overwhelming sensation of fear. After arriving and registering, there is quite a bit of time to wait… and think… and then begin to worry, just a little bit.
When your group is up, you follow a guide along a steep climb, and upon reaching the top, shimmy up onto a crane-like contraption (where you jump). Are you scared yet? Don’t worry! The Great Canadian Bungee Corporation is a pioneer in the development of bungee safety, uses state-of-the-art equipment, and employs only the most competent staff to assure a safe trip over the edge. (Or so they tell me.) Once atop the jumping point, the guide runs through safety procedures. Then you have some decisions to make:
1) Would you rather jump head first strapped by the ankles or experience a swing jump by the waist?
2) Would you rather jump forwards or backwards?
3) Would you like to be dipped in the water?
The entire group made similar decisions, strapped by the ankles, jumping forwards and definitely experiencing a dip in the water.
I learned that 200 feet is very high. The sensation of falling lasted longer than I had ever experienced. So, when people ask me what it was like, it’s really unexplainable. It’s an indescribable feeling, and the only way for someone to understand is to experience the jump themselves.
I can say that it was a mixture of falling, dipping and a 160-foot rebound, and I screamed all the way down and back up.
Editor’s Note: The decision to go bungee jumping is not one to be taken lightly.