February 27th - Queenstown, New Zealand - Day 195

Today Peter and I did something no rational human being would ever do.  We jumped off a 141 foot high bridge which spanned a beautiful river gorge with only a rubber band tied to our feet - yes today we bungee jumped.  

But I am getting ahead of myself.  In actuality this day started VERY early.  Stacie and I woke up at 2:30 in the morning in order to register Lea for summer camp.  The camp fills up within minutes so you have to register online as soon as registration is possible, which for Lea happened to be this morning at 3:00 AM.  We wandered upstairs and got set up for the mad dash to registration.  We actually got up too early and were just sitting there nervously watching the seconds tick off.  When the clock struck 3:00 (7 AM in Boise the prior day) we clicked on the register button, found the right link within 5 seconds, clicked it and were greeted with "Sorry, this Camp is full - click here to join the wait list."  The camp had literally filled up in under 10 seconds.  I was a bit crushed and a bit pissed.  We dropped Lea on the waiting list and then went back downstairs to go to sleep.  Stacie was able to get back to sleep after a while, but I was wide awake and after about 40 minutes of tossing and turning I decided to get up.  I sat and worked away for hours as the house slept.  I had not slept much the night before either because our neighbors were trying to recreate the Hot Tub Time Machine party at 2:30 in the morning.

Once everyone was up we checked the forecast and found out that it had changed to be mostly rainy over the next several days.  We decided to try to get some activities ticked off our list while the weather was good.  Peter and I had booked a bungee jump for Monday, but it would now be raining on Monday so we decided there was no time like the present.  We called AJ Hackett (the company that created the sport) and changed our reservation to 1:00.  As soon as Peter hung up the phone I started getting butterflies.  I really had no desire to do this, but Peter wanted to so I was along for the ride.  Given the lack of sleep over the two prior nights, my nerves were already pretty fried and I struggled to settle down.   

We all loaded up into the car and headed about 20 minutes out of town to the bungee site at the Kawarau Bridge.  This is the first bungee site in the world and is literally where the activity was created, which is pretty cool.  When we pulled up I was astonished.  The infrastructure is incredible.  There is a huge welcome center built into the side of a cliff packed with technology and merchandise - this is clearly big business in Queenstown.  We immediately tried to check in, but were told we were a little early, so we wandered out to the viewing platform to watch some people jump.  Watching the first person jump was not helpful.  It's a pretty big fall and the thought of jumping was truly starting to frighten me.  However, I was trying to play it cool, because Peter was really nervous as well and it showed.  

We finally got checked in and headed over to the jumping spot to get in line.  They have two cords they use for jumpers, one is for lighter people and one for heavier, so as you can imagine Peter and I had to split up.  His line had about 6 people in it, mine was empty :-(  so I would be up first.  Stacie and Lea wandered down to the viewing platform and got set up to take pictures.   

I kept telling myself, just get up there and jump, don't hesitate.  Before I knew it I was putting on a climbing harness and my guide was calling me down onto the jumping platform.  Fortunately, they had Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon playing, which actually did calm my nerves a little bit.  I sat on the platform and the guide made small talk while wrapping my ankles in a hand towel and then he wrapped the towel with an ankle harness.  He was done securing me to the bungee in about two minutes and then screamed out 81, which was my number - it was time.  I shuffled over to the edge of the platform.

On the edge of glory!

My guide made me wave to their cameras and then said 3-2-1 bungee and I leapt off the platform.  


The feeling in the first second of free fall was like nothing I have ever experienced, my heart was in my throat and I was screaming a little (I actually did not know it at the time, but Stacie and Lea were sure to remind me).  I have cliff jumped many times in my life, but this was completely different - it was flying.  Since you actually dive off the platform, not jump, you are falling head first, which makes the experience even more terrifying.  However, after the first second, it was really peaceful and quiet.  For the first time since Peter had hung up the phone, as I was rushing to hit the water, I was strangely calm and exhilarated, not scared.  Then the cord started to pull taught and all of a sudden I stopped falling and reversed course.

 I was pulled upward and then was falling again - it was awesome.  Once I stopped bobbing up and down I was lowered to a raft and it was over.  The whole thing probably took 30 seconds, but it was an incredible 30 seconds and well worth it.  

I ran up the trail to meet Stacie and Lea, and told them it was the best thing I have ever done.  I was so excited and relieved.  I then ran up to Peter to tell him to stop worrying and make sure he enjoyed the jump, because it was amazing.  

Peter was up about 10 minutes later and jumped without any hesitation (or screaming) and did a perfect swan dive.  

He came up from the trail grinning ear to ear and confirmed it was indeed the most incredible feeling.  

For the next 45 minutes as we collected our certificates and drove back to Queenstown we could not stop talking about how amazing it was.  

When we got back to the house, we ate a late lunch and then I laid down for a nap.  When I woke up we decided to get some exercise so the whole family went for a hike up the Queenstown Hill Track behind our house.  It is such a wonderful trail, with a big climb, amazing views and super easy access for us.  We do it almost every day.  

We got back and Lea and I ran to the grocery store for some supplies.  Ate a really simple dinner, and watched a Downton Abby (which has become more of a comedy for us than a drama).  We love to make fun of the characters as they are overly dramatic.  I think Jimmy Fallon and Downton Sixby was our inspiration.  

Then off to bed for a few hours before we had to wake up again at 2:30 to register Peter for camp.  Not to spoil tomorrows daily dump, but Peter did get in - thankfully!

If you ever have the chance to bungee, do it, you won't regret it!