In the spirit of doing everything I’ve never done, I decided to ask my mother to go skydiving for my 22nd birthday. I researched the coolest places in the country to jump out of a plane and decided on a place just outside of Zion National Park.
I would have a view of the park from the plane and as I free-fell which sounded amazing! The place operated on a reservation-only system, but I wasn’t sure when I’d be in Hurricane, Utah on my upcoming road trip, so I waited a while to book it.
A few days into my trip, I realized it would probably be about a week before I was in Utah. I called to make a reservation, but they were completely booked for the following week! The only dates available conflicted with my Half Dome plans.
This severely bummed me out. However, they soon informed me that they had one opening on June 12th. After a few missed phone calls, I snatched up that reservation. Unfortunately, this meant that I had to rush my Central Utah plans. (Rush, as in cancel.)
Colorado took much longer than expected, so I had to pick only one Utah park to explore (while already mentally planning a future trip to check out all of them). Utah has so many cool places to see, even outside of the National Parks, so I know I’ll be returning. I landed on Zion logically to be the park we checked out. The busiest one, of course.
After a one-night stint camping in the sand dunes (more on that here), Greg and I were exhausted and caved on our plans. We rented an Airbnb for two nights to give us the chance to shower and sleep in a bed. This also placed us closer to the Zion area for my skydiving excursion.
I had to be there at 8AM which can be challenging when I’m relying on someone else to also be up and ready early. Plus, the Airbnb had cats and how do you say no to petting cats?
We arrived early, and I immediately had to fill out paperwork. It was all of this scary stuff that basically had me signing my life away. I totally get it on the part of the skydiving business, but signing something that says that if I die due to their negligence that my family can’t sue them is pretty terrifying before I have to trust the instructor with my life.
Soon, it stopped being scary and got way more exciting. We went through the training and learned we’d be pulling our own rip cord and doing some steering ourselves.
Because of my late reservation, I was last in line. I watched the other two land safely from the ground, then geared up to do my own jump.
It’s really strange how quickly I was expected to trust a stranger whose name I’ve already forgotten with my life.
We were attached during my scenic small plane ride during which I had amazing view of Zion and the nearby desert areas.
Pretty soon, the plane door opened, and I swung my legs out, feeling the force of everything pushing my face upward. I’ve never wrinkled my forehead more in my life.
I decided I wanted to do a front flip dive, and we did a solid 2.5 flips before I got in the Superman pose I was taught. I think the most exciting and scariest part was looking out of the plane door right before we jumped. The rest didn’t feel real.
After what seemed like ten seconds, I was given the rip cord signal, and the fall got a whole lot slower and smoother. It was still amazing to be flying through the air with the parachute open. We did one turn, then I decided to float the rest of the way back.
Though we practiced the landing, there was some sudden wind that threw the instructor off. I followed instructions, but we had a bit of a crash landing. I kind of landed on all fours while the instructor seemed to flip over me. I was a little scraped up, but it was worth it.
I got my first jump certificate, and we were off to enjoy Zion. (Along with everyone else in the world.)
Hurricane, Utah is also home to the Chums factory. On our way to AZ the next morning, we stopped by and got the top-secret factory tour (plus some free stickers). It’s amazing what you get when you ask!