By: Daniel Baker, Marketing & Communications Manager
I’ve taken a ride in a white-water rapid, without the raft. I’ve hurled myself off cliffs, many stories high, into water. I have stood inches away from a wild lion. I’ve jumped out of an airplane (twice).
But nothing compares to bungee jumping.
This is the third installment of our Staff Story Time Series.
- Part 1 | Hiking on the AT in Maine
- Part 2 | Running with the Bulls
- Part 4 | Black Water Rafting in New Zealand
- Part 5 | Trek to Machu Picchu
Jumping Off a Perfectly Good Bridge in a Foreign County
Norway; the land of gigantic fjords and breathtaking views. Massive mountains erupt into the sky, lining nearly every inch of the majestic country.
With every turn on the road or hike, a sight more impressive than the last focuses into view. The pictures simply don’t do it justice. I had the good fortune of visiting Norway in the fall of 2019. I conquered a couple of epic hikes and toured the famous cities of Oslo and Bergen.
Yet the highlight of the trip took place on the side of a one-lane road.
The Trolljuv Bridge in Norway is most unassuming. Just a couple of minutes drive off of the main road, you approach the bridge, driving slowly through a couple of small tunnels.
On one side, a cargo container. On the other side, open water and mountains that stretch to the horizon.
The bridge itself is quite small — not more than a couple hundred feet or so in length. Still, it is home to a small bungee jumping operation. At this point in the year, they’re only open for a couple of hours, on a single day each week.
Before this trip, I felt like I had my fill of adrenaline — from downhill skiing, to white water rafting trips, and went skydiving. Not sure why I felt the need to launch myself out of a perfectly good airplane, TWICE, but that’s a story for another time.
And for the last two years, I’ve had the pleasure of working at Terrapin Adventures. Though I mostly work inside, I’ve assisted my share of guests atop the 43-foot Climbing Tower. I’ve helped people across Level 3 of our High Ropes Challenge Course, four stories above the ground. I have stepped out into the abyss on our Terrapin Flyer and helped calm the nerves of our guests, to instill the confidence to jump off the ledge, themselves. The adventure guides and facilitators you see on our course are even better than me! They calmly work with guests to help push them just beyond their comfort zone, giving our guests the confidence they need.
My point is: I work in the outdoor adventure industry and regularly, at great heights.
I should’ve been able to handle bungee jumping with ease, right? Wrong. So, so wrong.
Fortunately, Trolljuv Bridge uses a full-body harness, so I wouldn’t have to plummet head-first. I even made sure to watch the staff take their practice jump — to ensure that the equipment worked properly (much like how we, at Terrapin Adventures, test each element before our guests visit).
Still, once I was strapped in and standing at the spot of the jump, I froze. Peering over the edge, a tsunami wave of nerves hit me.
When you’re skydiving, you can’t really comprehend how high up you are, when you push yourself out of the plane. By the time you’re close enough to the ground to fully grasp how high up you are, you’re really sky-floating. Bungee jumping provides the pleasure of envisioning potential doom, much more clearly.
I heard the staff member speak to me. I know he was offering reassurance. It was just really, really difficult to process his words, while staring down, contemplating every decision I made that led me to that point.
After two minutes — but what felt like eternity — I told myself it was now or never, and took the plunge. 377 feet (115 meters) straight down, nearly to the bottom of the mountainside.
The moment in skydiving, right after you depart from the safety of the airplane, is a moment of pure bliss.
Bungee jumping’s first drop was like a million blissful moments. I didn’t even feel myself reach the bottom of the jump. All of a sudden, I was going back up…way up. The most terrifying feeling was reaching the apex of my arc, after the first drop. You’re suspended in mid-air and that’s the moment you say to yourself, “holy crap, I just jumped off a bridge!”
Once I slowed down enough, I attached myself to their pulley system that brought me back to the top of the bridge.
Legs shaking, I climbed over and felt the sweet relief of solid ground, beneath my feet.
Bungee jumping was easily the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I could not recommend it enough.
Overcome Your Fears at Terrapin Adventures
As the Communications & Marketing Manager for Terrapin Adventures, I get to speak with most guests before they visit. Be it a corporate team building program, a field trip for students who’ve never seen a Zip Line before, or guests looking to tackle an element that stumped them in their previous visit, everyone has a chance to overcome their own fears. Each person moves beyond what they thought they were capable of.
It’s such a joy to hear their stories, and greet them back inside, once they’ve accomplished exactly what it was they came here to do. I can’t wait to help you plan your day with us and I can’t wait to hear what obstacle you defeated, during your stay with us.