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Take a Leap of Faith

November 17, 2010

Ellie Beckett
Take a Leap of Faith

You can only break into the CMC pool so many times before the thrill begins to wear off. Here's an activity all adrenaline junkies should add to their pre-graduation bucket list: Bungee jumping off the Bridge to Nowhere. Should you choose to embark on this adventure, you will need to commit a full day. Your day will commence by meeting the Bungee America staff at 7:30 AM at the trail head parking lot. You will spend about 30 minutes listening to the jump facilitators' instructions and signing waivers verifying your awareness of the bodily risks associated with hurling your body off a bridge. No biggie.

The next leg of your day consists of an easy 5 mile hike to the bridge. The hike is mostly flat and the pace is fairly relaxed. Don’t let the thought of hiking 10 miles scare you away. On the trail, you'll ford rivers and amble through stunning scenery reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax.

Then, it gets real. You reach the bridge. After psyching yourself up all morning long, you're ready to take on this extreme challenge. As you approach the bridge an irresistible impulse tempts you look over the edge. Below, the river is raging, fringed by jagged rocks.  It is a long way down, and terror sets in.

No worries-- you're in good hands.  The Bungee America staff educates you in the element of the jump and every piece of equipment during Jump School. They explain how the harness and bungees can support thousands of pounds. Everything will be double, even triple-checked before you jump. You'll aim for a small flag on the rocks opposite you during the jump, so as to not crash into the bridge during the rebounding spring. Then, the staff members explain your jump options: will you swan dive forward or leap backward?  The jump style choice is yours.

Your heart plummets as you watch the first jumper take the plunge, flailing like a doll. All you can do is wait for your turn. Waiting time can be spent hiking down to the bottom and swimming in the river or on the bridge helping with the 5-count for the current jumper.  Once you see 10 or so jumps, the thought of leaping yourself seems less daunting. The perma-grins of those who have already leapt reminds you why you signed up in the first place.

Now it's your turn. Inhale deeply, tell yourself you are fearless, and climb over the bridge's railing. The count begins: “5-4-3...” You focus on the dive flag on the rocks across from you “..-2-1..”

“...BUNGEE!” You squat low and spring forward and before you realize what you’ve done, you’re falling. This is the most exhilarating 30 seconds of your life.

As you're lifted by wire back up to the bridge a grin spreads across your face. Warning: it will stay for hours. Back on the bridge, the staff have you put your arms straight out and look at your shaking hands as they unhook you from the bungee. They may mock your blood curdling scream or comment on your perfect trajectory. Once you’re unharnessed you giddily skip over to your other friends still waiting to jump and reassure them that it will be absolutely incredible.

When everyone in your group has jumped, you'll hike back to your car. Jumps are spaced based on weight, so depending on how large and varied your group is and how many people are there that day you could all jump within the same 20 minutes, or you could find yourself at the bridge for hours. Bring snacks to tide you over, a swimsuit, sandals for when you’re at the bridge (your boots/socks will be wet from crossing rivers), and warm clothing--the bridge can get pretty windy even on a nice day.

Now that you’re hooked up, here are a couple of logistics:

  • You need to make a reservation before you go. Bungeeing happens every Saturday and Sunday of the year, but with a large enough group, weekday or nighttime jumps are often scheduled.

  • Clear driving directions and a list of other need-to-knows are emailed to you upon making your reservation. The drive is 30-40 minutes from campus, depending on how fast you can handle mountain roads.

  • It costs $79 for one jump, $129 for two, $159 for three, $179 for four, and $199 for five. Deals and discounts can be given depending on how big your group is.

For more information, check out the Bungee America website.

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