“Why would you jump out of a perfectly good airplane?” says the majority of people in the world…
It was my buddy Keith’s birthday, and we decided to head on up to Skydive New England, in Lebanon, Maine, to answer that question.
This would be my second jump. My first was in 2009, in Wanaka, New Zealand. The occasion then was for my brother’s 24th birthday. And the occasion now is Keith’s 29th. Is the theme here birthday jumps, or that I’m the easy pick for a crazy person willing to join the birthday jump?…
In Wanaka, my brother and I jumped from 12,000-feet, which means about a 40-45 second free fall before the chute opens. This time, we were going higher. And a jump from 14,000-feet means nearly a minute of falling through the sky. Even though a skydive in its entirety feels like it’s over before you know it, during those moments, a minute of falling feels like a long time!
So Keith’s birthday was actually Tuesday, October 24th, and that’s when Keith, Sean, and I booked our jump for. But as the day grew nearer, the weather was looking pretty terrible. Rain was on the horizon and our Tuesday jump was likely to be cancelled. This was also the last week of the jump season for Skydive New England and they were full up for the weekend. So the only thing we could do is try to push it forward to Monday and hope the weather held out. SNE was nice enough to accommodate and get us in for Monday the 23rd, at 2pm.
On the drive up, the three of us were a bit concerned. A low hanging fog blanketed Boston, and most of New Hampshire, on our drive up. But as soon as we pulled off the highway and cruised onto the dirt road leading to Skydive New England, the clouds seemed to part.
Clouds hung in the distance in every direction, but a perfect opening directly above the jump zone gave way and our skydive was ON!
Just minutes after check-in, our names were called and our class was beginning. A quick “you know what you’re signing up for right?” video, and a few pages of waivers saying, “yes, I do accept the risks of hurling my body out of an airplane strapped to the front of a stranger,” later… we were getting suited up and ready to jump.
We boarded the plane, full of excitement. Shouts and claps and hell yeahs! We were ready. Keith and Sean, having never jumped, were buzzing with a mix of anticipation and adrenaline. Fear infused readiness. We were all just jazzed.
The ride up to jump altitude took maybe 10-minutes. And it was gorgeous. I highly recommend jumping in the Fall if you’re jumping in New England. Of course it’s amazing to jump over beautiful beach vistas and turquoise waters, or sprawling snow-capped mountains like I did in New Zealand. But around here, you can’t beat a jump over the colors of a New England autumn.
And then it was time. The garage-door-like exit slid open. And we started scooting toward it. It happens fast. One after another, you’re on the edge and then you’re out. And Keith, he fell out the door right before me. Watching his face just before the jump was priceless! You can check that out in the photo slider below:
How was the jump?
Incredible! Did you see me ever not smiling as big as my face could stretch in that video?? It was as good, if not better, than I remembered. And I promise there won’t be 8 years between this and my next!
Actually, I probably enjoyed the second skydive even more.
The first time around, emotions are so overwhelming. It’s obviously an amazing experience, but it’s hard to process! This time, because I wasn’t nervous at all going in, and the feeling of the fall, though distant in my memory, was not unfamiliar, I could take in more of the moment. And this time around, I got to steer the parachute (thanks Rod!). That was cool.
When you take the turn down the road toward Skydive New England, you pass a sign. It reads, “Welcome to your new addiction!” And they couldn’t be more right.
It really is instantly one of the most addictively awesome things you will ever do. And if you go through the course to learn to dive alone, after you get that license, it’s only $25 per jump! That’s certainly something on the horizon for more.
Skydive New England allows you to camp out in the grounds just outside their jump center, so that’s probably the way to do it! Go up for a week of camping and skydiving and leave with a license. Want to come with?
Where is Skydive New England?
Just a quick jaunt from Boston. 40 Skydive Ln, Lebanon, ME 04027.
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