Learning to Fall With Whistler Bungee
In this week’s addition of #Whislife, Harry Patchett recounts his experiences of the adrenaline rush that is bungee jumping with Whistler Bungee.
I received my, much needed, first paycheque from Peaked Pies where I make that tasty pastry and meat money. It was also my only day off that week, which turned out to be both a good and bad thing. When I’m paid on a Saturday the money tends to go a lot faster and with only one day to let loose – I let loose.
I woke up in my friend’s room with my shoes off but jacket zipped and hood still up – last night had obviously been a fun one. I grabbed a black shirt from his shelf and woke him up.
I’ve got work soon can you drive me? Please.
The legend shook off sleep and we were in the car 15 minutes later.
I was bungee jumping straight after work and I’d decided the night before that I wanted to be hung over for it. When you’re a little ill it’s like there is a bubble wrap on everything around you – I become more nonchalant about impending acts of adrenaline like jumping off a bridge. But still I was prepared to be scared, this was my first bungee jump and ‘friends’ seemed to enjoy messing with my head.
One guy’s first jump got him whacked below the belt because he didn’t jump far enough out. I’d even seen this photo of a guy trying that Ice Bucket Challenge pre bungee and getting a full bucket to the face when his friend couldn’t keep a grip on the plastic.
To make matters worse, James, my photographer friend couldn’t do his jump due to a broken collarbone so his ticket would go to waste unless I could find a candidate who not only wanted to jump but needed to.
I was busy working the front counter when three girls came bubbling in. Two of them were talking excitedly about bungee jumping that same afternoon. The third wasn’t so excited.
The girls, Louise and Tayla were going to wear panda bear onesies – the stoke was evident in their smiles. Their friend Marissa had a big fear she wanted to conquer and had missed out on a ticket. We settled it over the counter. The friend, Marissa would make the jump with James’ ticket.
We all piled in together, unfortunately we were late 15 minutes, which didn’t help the nerves.
We hurried up and over the bridge to the leaping off point with barely an eye for the beautiful blue skies above and forest below. Thinking we were late and wondering if we’d still be able to do it we then met the very relaxed staff from Whistler Bungee – Ash and Shane. It made me calmer to know they were so chill.
When I asked if there was a bathroom up here the guy pointed to the walkway and said to find a spot in the trees. I wondered how often he was asked that question, as part of my needing to piss was definitely the nerves.
Ash strapped me in and Shane prepped me. There were plenty of jokes that I laughed weirdly along with – not sure I got away with playing it cool. When Shane said
Put your toes over the edge It got real.
The gate was open, my hands were firmly on the rails, my body not prepared to let go. I was looking down at the Cheakamus River in which the ratio of water to rock was like guys to girls in Whistler, the guys being the rocks far outnumbering the amount of nice soft water.
I barely have time to turn to the camera before he’s counting me down…
5,4,3 and I’m feeling rushed.
Shit he’s about to get to 1, he’s at 2, fuck it I’m going.
Before he can finish the count I swan dive out over the Cheakamus River.
I’ve fallen off things before but never intentionally or with the knowledge that I wasn’t going to hit the ground. I didn’t shake, but vibrated. I held my body in position as I fell. I felt graceful like a cliff diver without the splashy ending. I was calm. There was nothing I could do now. The first second is a holy expletive feeling of falling. The next second is joy. I wanted to have fun and play with this new feeling, pretend to be running slow motion or something and then just as quickly it was over.
The fall slowed and I’m bouncing back up. My adrenaline is rushing and I forget that I’m going to be falling again. I hit the top of my bounce and I scramble a little under the bridge and laugh at myself feeling a bit giddy. I put my head back and breathe the moment in a little deeper, slowing my heart down.
I was the first of the group and so took the chance to watch everyone else’s from a few different angles. The location allows quite a few different viewing opportunities for those injured or too chicken to jump.
My newfound friends invited me back to theirs and we watched the jumps filmed on GoPro. Marissa was the most stoked. Bravery award for sure, the way she shook on the edge – I thought she’d need a push, but she didn’t.
I want to do it again. I want to stand there for an extra few seconds and do some wild flipping jump off the bridge. I want to practice falling.