Extreme Adventures (Part 1) By Sonja Mabel McClure

Whether it’s skydiving out of a plane, paragliding across a valley, or trapezing through the air on a swing, each person should experience the thrill of extreme adventure at least once in their lifetime. The term, extreme adventure, has been classified as “pursuits characterized of high speeds and of high risk” (Encyclopedia Britannica). 

Here’s an insider look at several gutsy and intense activities that are sure to get your blood pumping with sheer excitement and total adrenaline.

Upside Down in Idaho

You may have seen a tower in a theme park before, but have you ever watched private guides lead bungee jumps off a bridge? At a remote location in Idaho, a group of about a dozen gathered on a narrow bridge one afternoon, to go bungee jumping. We all agreed to a day filled with unusual danger and mind-blowing entertainment. 

We had options on how to take the jump: you could be fastened from the waist or for the dare devils, by the ankles or for the fearless seasoned jumper, by just one ankle. The rules for jumping were as follows: you can jump off the bridge of your own free will or after a handful of countdowns and you haven’t gone yet, someone will assist by picking you up and tossing you off.

I watched a few others gear up and take the intimidating plunge. Some of the girls ahead of me in line were so scared; they ended up getting thrown over the side of the bridge. I made up my mind, I was going to do the jump on my own account. Standing with my toes on the edge, I was reminded of taking my first step off the high dive as a kid, at the local swimming pool. Terrified. Nauseous. Weak at the knees. The guide started to count down. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5...Wait! No. I’m not ready. I was short of breath and started to heavily perspire. I only had a few more attempts before they would just throw me over the ledge.

I closed my eyes and leapt headfirst into the air. About halfway towards the river below, I opened my eyes and released the loudest scream. Then, before I could catch my breath, my body was launched back up, like a ragdoll, directly towards the underside of the bridge. For a split second, I envisioned myself slamming into the giant beams only to be hurled and coiled downward again.

The bouncing and rebounding process repeated several times. Finally, I came to a complete stop. I just dangled from the cords, upside down and breathless. Dizzy, I reached up to hook on the clip and ropes that had been lowered to pull me back to safety. I was trembling and slightly in shock. It took all my strength to connect the clip. Free falling was hands down the most exhilarating and frightening sensation all in one. It was unbelievable to fly like an arrow. I’d never felt anything quite like that before.

Once I had returned safely to solid ground, I sprawled across the road. I was so relieved and grateful to be back on land. I thought, I’m proud that I had the courage to try something so liberating, so insane and that once was definitely enough of a wild event for me. I made a silent promise to never do that again.

Sky-High in Las Vegas

One night, while visiting Vegas with friends, I decided to experience the thrill and terror of the Big Shot amusement ride for myself. The elevator to the top of the Stratosphere was exciting in itself. I found the transport similar to the time I went up the Seattle Space Needle, minus the views of Elliot Bay. However, the Space Needle viewing area was almost 400 ft. lower in height than the Stratosphere overlook.

The best description of the highly invigorating ride can be found on the Strato website: “Strap into the Big Shot, where you’ll be shot 160 feet in the air at 45 miles per hour in a matter of seconds – all while overlooking the majestic Las Vegas. Big Shot catapults 16 riders from the 921-foot-high platform up the tower’s mast to a height of 1,081 feet, and then down again.” https://thestrat.com/attractions/thrill-rides.

Rollercoasters and thrill rides have always pushed my boundaries and comfort zone. When combined with my fear of heights, the mixed feelings seemed paralyzing. You can imagine how amped and anxious I was standing in line for the Big Shot ride. 

When it was my turn, I buckled into a seat, safety bars clamped down around me, but my legs were dangling hundreds of feet above the earth. Stunning aerial views of the Vegas strip below, a runway of blinking and multicolored lights surrounded by gigantic Casinos and extravagant architecture.

My nerves were jumbled, and my stomach queasy. The force and velocity as we blasted into the night gave me a glimpse of a rocket ship trip. At the pinnacle of the ride we froze in midair as if in slow motion. Then, swiftly we plummeted to where we started. My emotions and heartbeat jostled around in all directions. Involuntary tears escaped down my cheeks. My legs so unsteady, I could barely exit the ride. A big shot of serotonin left me feeling elated and flabbergasted with delight.

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Stay tuned for Extreme Adventures Part 2…

Comments

  1. I"ve always enjoyed big amusement rides! As I get older though I relate to my father more: the heights mess with me and my stomach knots up. I enjoyed reading your personal experiences!

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    Replies
    1. I find many of the new thrill rides exciting but terrifying these days! Thank you for reading and I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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