Check out Lynda’s story on when she went paragliding with us. Many thanks for sharing, Lynda. We love your story.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Oh we were going high. Very high. Our hiking boots were deemed insufficient and were replaced with proper snow boots. We were given gloves to put over our already insulated gloves. Then we got on the ski lift (a first for Surisitee and myself since we don’t ski). On the way up Omar, my pilot, told me that this was a different animal from my sky diving experience. Here, my actions would have a big impact on whether we made it successfully into the sky. “You should know I’m dead clumsy” I confessed. “Don’t tell me that. You are making me nervous.” “I’m serious. I was picked last for kickball.” Omar had the look of someone required to eat a horrible meal. “You will do this.” We’d reached the top of the ski lift and jumped off. I was pleased I did it successfully. The skiers and snow boarders headed down the slopes. We headed up, picking our way through the thick snow and using the footprints other paragliders had made before us.
… IT WAS SO FREAKING BEAUTIFUL! I’m serious. This was skydiving over the mountains majesty. The view was transportive. The view was some sort of divine blessing you should have to live several blameless lifetimes to be entitled to see. Snow capped mountain after snow capped mountain stretched out in front of us. None of our photos and videos do it justice. Every time I snuck a glance at the view I wanted to stop and gape. I was close to an out of body experience. Of course that might have had something to do with height – this much height!
… In fact WE WERE ON TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN. I was actually STANDING ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN. There should have been music or something. Nope. No music. Omar was giving me directions. As it transpired I needed to run off the mountain ahead of him. “It’s not really a cliff,” he said helpfully. “It is a very steep slope.” Just saying. Apparently sometimes people didn’t do the running bit right, especially in the snow. If I didn’t have enough speed (not very much was required) we’d probably stop about halfway down and it would be a sweaty mess getting back up the mountain again with the open chute. Omar didn’t fancy the prospect. We were very much agreed on that point. I was going to try really hard to not be clumsy. Omar helped me into my gliding harness. I was mightily relieved when Omar finished his set up and called me over. We were all hooked up.
“Now run! Run like something horrible is chasing you!” This was much easier said than done. First of all, I was … me. Second, the snow was deep, Omar and the chute increased in resistance with each stride as the chute gathered wind. I push on. So hard. I pushed harder and harder and … I lost my footing. “It’s okay!” Omar yelled as the wind lifted us up like a competent mother and took us into its glorious, magical embrace. The world was, quite suddenly, completely absent of things I couldn’t see. I could see everything and it was so, so beautiful.
The rest was an enchanted dream. I’d run off a mountain. (Surisitee did much better than I did. She didn’t fall and ran until her legs pumped empty air. That’s the goal.) Now it was all glorious eye candy and not a care in the world. Everything was wonderful and I loved everything. Omar in particular because he’d gotten me to fly. He’d gotten me to do things I didn’t think I could do and now here I was, gliding along on top of the bottom of the world surrounded to surreal, rugged beauty. What could be better than this?
“Is Surisitee alive?” Yeah, those mothering instincts are really sharp Lynda. You finally remembered you have a daughter. “Well certainly she’s alive, but she’s not in the air yet” Omar smiled. Between gulps of beauty I remembered to inquire about the life-status of my daughter every few minutes until we had confirmation that she and Tom were safely airborne. Omar let me take the controls, but it was really easier to alter our course by leaning my body in one direction or another. Slowly, slowly we drifted downward with each turn and twist. Close our drop zone Omar asked if I liked rollercoasters. I did! (I liked everything at this point. Surisitee was fine and I was imbibing beauty crack. Plus I was flying.) Omar turned our paraglide into a rollercoaster. We turned and rolled and soared and dipped. Finally it was time to land. I was to stand up and walk at the appropriate time. Guess what? I did it 🙂
I got to watch Surisitee doing some of the tricks we’d done and come in for a landing. She was perfect.
In fact, this was a perfect end to our whole New Zealand experience.