Free-falling to Earth,
Saved by a bright parachute,
My first time. Awesome!
I almost can't believe that I can actually cross skydiving off my list. It was an incredible experience. Seventeen of us interns went for the adventure. It was about $200/person for the whole day (including car rentals, gas, food, etc.), which is nothing for such excitement.
Honestly, the terror was a lot worse in the plane on the way up than it was actually falling. Evan was the first one out of my planeload, and he got the distinct pleasure of sitting next to the open side of the plane as we climbed to 13,000 ft. We each had altimeters on our wrists, and right at 13,000 the plane leveled off and Evan went... away.
My tandem guy (Marcus) scooted me down the bench and in front of the yawning opening at the back of the plane. I saw Evan and his instructor, now just a tiny dot, falling fast. "Dive flow," I thought to myself. I grabbed my harness, did the one-two-three rocking motion ("ready, set, dive!") with Marcus, and I was skydiving! There was so much wind, but I could still hear myself screaming, I think. Mind you: it was screams of joy, not screams of terror! Sooooooo much fun.
At 7,000 feet, Marcus tapped me on the shoulder, and I looked at my wrist. I watched it drop down to 5,5o0 feet, then reached back and pulled the golf ball that released the chute. A satisfying *funf* heralded the opening of the chute, and suddenly we were drifting happily, almost a mile above the countryside.
The canopy was almost as good as the freefall, honestly. Marcus let me steer the parachute for a while, and we spun around in impressively tight corkscrews. I didn't realize how much control there was to be had over falling!
The landing was easy. Marcus did most of it. Instead of landing undignifiedly on my butt, like all the other first-timers, I proudly landed on two feet. :)
After such an adventure, food was necessary. Evan, Taejin, Dean, and I took one of the rental cars that we'd booked for the weekend to Sacramento. I was disappointed with how empty the city was, but I didn't much care after the day's excitements. We had dinner at a delicious Italian place downtown.
All in all, I'm still completely wiped from the weekend. I'm hoping to get a proper night's sleep sometime in the near future, but we'll see whether that happens or not.