85m to Freedom

Typically, I’m a pretty cautious person. I avoid risky situations, I follow the rules, I drive within the speed limit, etc. This weekend, however, I threw myself off a 85 meter cliff.

Let’s back up. Weeks and weeks ago Clara and I planned a trip to Interlaken, Switzerland because (1) that was her limbo weekend being in between the end of her stay in Rome to the beginning of her travels and (2) I pushed for fulfilling my goal of bungee jumping while abroad.

Time flew incredibly fast and we were together again in Switzerland, starting our third mini European adventure together. Friday was a day for reuniting, napping, wine consuming and attempted bar hopping. Saturday involved a slow morning, a walk to Lake Brienz, bernie-ing like bamfs and more napping. At 4:00pm, we headed down to our hostel’s lobby (aka the bar, not joking) and waited to be picked up for our extreme sporting adventure. We were both nervous as hell. Neither of us had done anything like this before so are nerves jumbled together.

Turns out our jump** location was in Grindelwald which was great because Grindelwald was on my “Places to Visit” list. The jump was located in a canyon, technically 85 meters above the bottom of the canyon. After we got out of the van, we took a group photos (which Clara and I enhanced with our thugness) and then walked about two minutes to the jumping platform. We were read a humorously written contract and then fitted with our harnesses.

Choosing to go second did not give me much time for contemplation or observation. Instead, I literally just through myself over the edge without being fully aware of what to expect. Before my jump, the “instructor” told me to aim for the trees across from the gorge and that this jump had four times as much extension and air time then with a simple bungee. At this moment, I realized I didn’t really know what I was doing. But I was already strapped in completely and only a few inches from the edge. I looked up at the photographer, swore like a sailor and then took a few deep breathes. “Don’t think, just do.” And then I was air-born.

I can’t even describe it really. For most of it, I was freaking out. I got a running start and threw my arms up and then threw my body over the platform. Almost instantly I started screaming and I frantically grabbed for the limp rope in front of me. Suddenly my whole body seized as the rope became taught and as I swung through the canyon. The whole time I was grasping the rope, even though doing so did not greater ensure my safety. I was a little disoriented as I swung through the canyon. I looked upwards towards from where I had leapt but could not differentiate anything. In the moment, I thought I had swung through a narrow crevasse in the canyon. None of this mattered really except for the sake of a sweet picture of me swinging and posing at the bottom of the canyon.

Adrenaline rushes are addicting. Right after I took my harness off, I wanted to strap it back on and have another go. I got to watch Clara jump though which was pretty exciting. She shrieked like a banshee throughout most of it but had an awesome time too. We had to wait at the bottom in the cold for the other jumpers which was not fun, but we were glad we were rid of our nerves and just high on life.

“You’re not hardcore until you live hardcore!”

panic

** This technically wasn’t bungee jumping because my feet weren’t secured. This “canyon jump” allowed for four times as much suspension than the bungee jump though. It was probably more exhilarating anyway because all my limbs were free allowing me to basically run in midair.

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