A Glimpse Into My Skydiving Experience

I have always been a relatively adventurous person––I love heights, exploring, hiking, ziplining, and more––but I never, not in a million dreams, thought that I would skydive. Something about falling out of a 13,500 feet-high plane at 200 feet per second just didn’t seem appealing to me. However, after an incredibly impulsive decision and an extreme amount of adrenaline, I did it.

When I first arrived at Skydive the Ranch in Gardiner, NY, two thoughts immediately hit me: “why on earth am I doing this?" and “please get me out of here.” But as scared and horrified as I was, I walked in with my friend and didn’t look back. After getting our gear on and listening to the tandem skydiving safety presentation, we met the instructors who would be jumping with us. And quite honestly, the people who work at Skydive the Ranch were what made me feel excited about jumping out of a plane––not nervous. The instructors there are so funny and relaxed, which made me loosen up and actually feel thrilled about what I was about to do.

Photo Credit: Isabelle Durso

Everyone says that jumping out of the plane is easy––the hardest part is the plane ride up. I fully and completely disagree with this statement. The ride up in the plane was actually incredibly fun; the instructors were making jokes, asking about our lives, and making us really feel at ease (which is a hard task considering we were about to fall over 13,000 feet in the air). I’ll never forget what my instructor said to me on the way up. When I repeated “oh my god” almost a thousand times because I was so nervous, he said to me, “Instead of ‘oh my god,’ say ‘oh my Eric,’ it would make me feel cool,” (his name was Eric).

Those 20 minutes were a breeze, but reality started to set in when the door to the plane opened and it was time for me to jump. My instructor slowly moved us to the door, told me to give the camera a thumbs-up (I highly recommend paying for a video), rocked us over the edge, and we were in free-fall. 

Photo Credit: Skydive the Ranch

While I think that the free-fall was the hardest part because the skin on my face almost flew off and my ears got destroyed by the wind, it was still utterly amazing. As soon as we fell from the plane, my body was immediately enveloped in what felt like a rough, cushiony cloud, guiding me through the sky. My instructor pushed my hands out into the air, making me feel like I was truly flying. I could see everything below me––the Catskill Mountains in the distance, the Hudson River running through the state, and thousands of trees covered in fall leaves. It was beautiful.

Photo Credit: Skydive the Ranch

The best part by far was opening the parachute. After about 50 seconds of free-falling, my instructor opened the parachute, which immediately slowed us down and allowed me to fully take in the experience. My instructor guided my hand in pulling down one side of the parachute straps to turn us, letting me steer us towards the ground. This part was definitely my favorite because I could really take in everything I was feeling and seeing––the sun shining down on my face, the beautiful tops of the trees, the wind gently nudging us towards the grass. 

After landing (remember to keep your feet up!), my instructor helped me up and hugged me, saying that I did great. I remember feeling so happy and accomplished, and then I almost fell down because my legs were shaking so bad because of the adrenaline. My whole body was shaking, but that feeling of quite literally being on top of the world has never left me.

Photo Credit: Skydive the Ranch

I will absolutely never forget my experience skydiving. There are not many other things in the world that can truly change your perspective on life like skydiving can. Every little problem, every insignificant fight, every failed test can seem so small up there in the big blue, open sky.

 

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