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Skydiving quickly sweeps away fear of heights

By: Kassondra Cloos news@outtherecolorado.com
May 9, 2013 Updated: May 9, 2013 at 9:25 am
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Thousands of feet in the air, the point of no return was long gone.

It was more of a line than a point, actually. It was painted on the ground. The guides showed us after the plane crossed it, taxiing down the runway and leaping into the sky on a bumpy takeoff.

No more refunds.

I might have chickened out of Disney World's Tower of Terror in the fourth grade (I still regret it), but there was no chance I'd back out of skydiving, especially not tandem. The chances of dying while skydiving are slim, and statistics are always right. Right?

In any case, regrets of heights untackled continue to haunt me. But when the door popped open and air came rushing through the plane, there was a moment when it seemed like a better idea to curl into a ball and not risk the jump.

It was a fleeting thought, because we were headed toward the ground before I had a chance to finish it. It took a few seconds to realize it, too. The strange thing about skydiving is that it's nothing like a steep roller coaster.

Free-falling doesn't feel anything like the free-fall feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you ride a twisty coaster.

Skydiving felt like rolling over into the world's fluffiest mattress. It's suffocating at first, as belly-flopping into the sky puts a lot of pressure on you. But the sensation quickly passes. Unlike my high expectations, the thrill of plummeting toward the Earth at lightning speed wasn't realized. The air felt stable.

There were no clouds in sight, and I couldn't see the plane, so there were no landmarks to gauge our speed.

When my guide pulled the cord for the parachute, we slowed to what seemed like a snail's pace. We floated over Canon City for a few minutes, slower and slower, tugging on the parachute to steer toward the airport and the hangar for Skydive Colorado.

We glided just high enough for comfort across U.S. 50 and landed softly in the dirt, slightly disheveled from the wind.

I'd definitely dive again but hopefully from a higher altitude. In the meantime, bring on the next challenge. This one was too easy.

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