I have a Pedro-likes-thrills category because Pedro likes activities that get his heart pumping. I like that too, up to a point. Bungee is a no for me. I jumped once with a group of Air Force friends, from a hot air balloon over Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1991. I was terrified and had my eyes squeezed shut, a death grip on the rope, and held my body in a fetal position the whole time, till I stopped bouncing. I was screaming loud enough for people in Denver to hear me.

I dug through some albums and found photo evidence of myself at age 21, jumping 165 feet out of a perfectly good hot air balloon.

This is all of us signing our waivers, claiming that we will not hold the company responsible if we die. There’s me, in my pink-and-aqua 1990s jacket, staring at the camera, pretty much wondering what on earth I agreed to do. (That’s my friend, Ira Johnson on the right in the red jacket. We are still friends today. ❤ }

I kept my eyes tightly shut the entire time and didn’t open them again until I had stopped bouncing. After I jumped, they switched bungee cords, then everyone else jumped. With adrenalin pumping, we then all went out for breakfast. After breakfast, two hours after my jump, my hands were STILL shaking. I told myself, “Well, I did it. I never have to do it again.”

This is what the bridge looks like in Amboy, Washington as one approaches.
Pedro walking confidently on the bridge. He had been here multiple times before the pandemic.
View from the bridge down to Canyon Creek, and a clear cut area in the distance.
At the far end of the bridge, the company has set up their jumping operations.
These people are in their jump gear, waiting their turn and considering their life choices.

Pedro, on the other hand, loves bungee jumping. He said his first was from a mechanical platform that had been raised over his home town when he was 17. He was hooked for life.

He didn’t give me a specific number of experiences, but it sounds like he prefers to bungee as often as he can. He uses it as therapy. You see, Pedro’s personality is calm, collected, responsible. He thoughtfully addresses each thing and then responds with care. His #1 goal is to take care of the people he loves, #2 is to take care of the people depending on him, #3 is to take care of himself. He can have a hard time seeing the difference between self-sacrifice, and just doing his job. With an outsider’s perspective, it seems like it serves him to be calm so that at any moment he will be ready for whatever comes.

The one area where he does let loose is humor. He’s a super funny guy, lobbing quiet one-line zingers that catch me completely off guard because it’s not the usual. We laugh together a lot.

Pedro signing his waiver. This is a new form. The old form, before the pandemic, asked people to choose cremation or coffin – it was a joke.

There are so many kinds of emotions that need to be expressed other than humor and stoicism. I let it out often. Too often. I cry or giggle with barely a millisecond of forethought, which can be embarrassing. Pedro uses bungee jumping to get his heartrate up and experience a thrill, experience fear, experience wonder, inhibition, and joy during a freefall that he simply isn’t able to feel day to day. Maybe he’s experiencing grief, anger, and regret too – who knows? I’m not him. Bungee jumping makes Pedro feel better.

He had told me a lot of this, and also told me how frustrating it has been that the pandemic closed the nearest bungee company for two years. I was instantly on board when a couple weeks ago he suggested we go jump off a bridge in Amboy, Washington. I declined to join him, but said I would do anything to support his jump.

A couple weekends ago we did it. We went to a place somewhat near my house. A company called Bungee Masters, Inc. owns a 200-foot-high (61 m) bridge (the road is no longer in use) and people jump 190 feet (58 m) off the bridge.

When you look at the photos, look at the expressions on his face. So, so, so, so worth it. I want this man to jump off a bridge once a month, actually.

Bouncing beneath the bridge and dangling above Canyon Creek.
Still bouncing around and having fun.

It was a warm, gorgeous day and there were lots of people waiting on the bridge with us. The company hosts jumps all year long, but their busier season is in the warm and dry months. We chatted with others while waiting our turn, and that helped pass the time. I took photos of some birds that circled high above us, riding the currents.

I think it’s a Red Tailed Hawk?

Since Pedro had jumped before, he was allowed to do a more advanced jump. The one you see above, where he ran and leapt off a ramp. The bungee cord is attached on the other side of the bridge, so when he jumped, he swung beneath the bridge, and bounced on the other side. When he leapt, I took the photos, then ran across the bridge and looked over the edge to see him appear. Just like Pooh and Piglet did with the sticks.

The guides dropped a cable for Pedro to attach to his gear once he stopped bouncing. They used a winch to haul him back up. Then he was on a platform on the other side of the bridge. This is the platform where all the new people are required to jump from. From this platform, Pedro hurled himself backward for a second jump.

Most of the new people jumped once, but there is an option to jump twice for a big discount on the second jump. It’s easy for the company to let you jump a second time, because you’re already all hooked up and standing on the platform after your first jump. Pedro knew in advance he would want to jump twice.

Look at how happy he is.
This is after he climbed back onto the bridge after his second jump.
Waiting for the guides to help him get out of his gear, Pedro is still filled with joy from his jumps.

While waiting for our turn, I had taken photos of a different group and offered to share my photos with them. In return they took videos of Pedro and shared those with us. So kind. They also took this one:

Post-jump happiness. Isn’t this a great photo? {Photo by Swastik Roy}

11 thoughts on “Bungee!

    1. We definitely have some great adventures! You make a good point: how often do we see balloons from the bottom? Almost no one takes that shot! In this case, the person with the camera was the one who was NOT jumping, so it was natural to take the shot of the bottom of the balloon. How interesting. Now I am going to think about this the next time I am around balloons, ha ha.

  1. I’m with you on this. Who would think it a good idea to jump out of a perfectly good balloon? You wouldn’t even get me in the balloon. 🙂 Pedro does look very happy and I wonder if it’s something in male DNA that makes them hold back and only release during extreme sports. TS got it from learning to fly a plane and riding a motorcycle. Did a lot of praying during those years. There is a freedom in all those activities you don’t get in other ways. Glad he didn’t have to choose coffin or cremation. 😉

    1. Yes, you are on a valid train of thought there. Pedro related his suppression of emotions to being raised in a patriarchal society where he was told not to express himself to be a proper male. I’m sure you did not teach that to TS, but he certainly got that idea from things around him, so maybe he used airplanes and motorcycles the same way. My neighbor is a big softie but a rural tough guy. His outlet is racing cars. It was so fun to be around Pedro this day: he was so happy, all day long.

      1. I also see it as a way to feel free from the constructs of life. I didn’t teach TS those things but he got plenty of input from his patriarchal father. Then there is the peer pressures in schools. They often outweigh what we want them to learn. I have some bobbins I want to send you for the Pfaff. Finally figured out what they went to. Did I ever ask your favorite color?

  2. I wonder sometimes when I get stuck or bored or uninspired what it would be like to do this. I’m not much of a daredevil and most of what I say no to is out of disinterest rather than fear. But he looks as if a kind of life force is pouring out from him. Confident and joyous. Bravo, Pedro. Thanks to the two of you I’m feeling inspired!

    1. Well, it seems to me like bungee jumping is probably one of the safest extreme sports. You could pass out cold and fall off the bridge and still be fine. So for that reason, I think it’s a good choice if you’re seeking a thrill. I’m glad you could see what I saw in the photos of Pedro. Wow. These scenes are all amazing to me. He does not gush like this. Just this one day. It was magical. ❤

  3. Good Veterans Day to you Crystal–the best weather observer I ever served with. Thank you for your service! I appreciated it then and now.
    I don’t remember you talking about jumping out of a balloon but I do know you were the best I ever saw at launching them. I’ve thought about you and those days many times… Good times!

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