We have an abundance of rain the past few days and the younger boys have had so much fun playing in the little seasonal creek that runs through our property. I'm refraining from posting those photos here today though since I did promise to show you some glimpses from our trip out West! What a privilege to spend time with sons Jake (18) and Gabe (16) *plus* my parents (I'll keep their age a secret! LOL!)!
I absolutely *love* to travel! I was really excited about this trip because we had several "firsts" planned... Monument Valley Utah, Canyon de Chelly AZ and the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest too! Then, to top off the whole trip~ skydiving!
Here we are.... ready to leave for the airport! Adventure awaits!
I brought my down jacket on this trip and boy and I glad that I did! It was cold and super-windy... can you see the snow blowing off of the peaks?
Monument Valley was, well, vast. : ) I think one of the things that I love about going out West is how very tiny I feel under that big, big sky.
The next photos were taken from the window of the house that we stayed in... watching the sun rise! Phenomenal! Go God!
Next on our agenda was a visit to Canyon de Chelly... there we were able to see some fabulously old canyon dwellings and wall carvings... super-cool!
Next up, the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest! It was still a bit chilly this day, but beginning to warm up. Even though we were a bit early in the tourist season and it was cold, I loved it~ no crowds to battle... we really had the park to ourselves!
The petrified wood there was astounding... it looked just like "real" wood, but it was a rock.. it amazed me to see the wood grain and all... preserved so perfectly!
And finally, the last full day of our trip~ skydiving! I was both excited and terrified!
That morning, before we jumped "for real," my parents reserved a spot for us in the vertical wind tunnel. It is basically a super-huge fan that blows so hard that you can practice skydiving indoors! We all did this... here we are all suited up before our indoor "flying" lesson. I'll tell you this... it is *way* harder than it looks!
After our wind tunnel adventure we went out to get lunch... I tried not to think too much about it being my "last meal!" LOL! Then we drove back for the real deal. Just my father and I were going to do this. After watching the scary waiver video and basically signing our life away, we went out and the pros who were going to tandem jump with us helped us suit up.
Let me tell you, it takes an absolute eternity to reach 13,500ft! The small plane was crammed with skydivers... perhaps 25 and most of them were practicing for a competition that required them to jump at 10,000 ft, so after a while the once full plane was eerily empty, with only my father and I and our tandem instructors left. Yikes!
My father jumped first. It was the strangest thing to see him in the doorway of the plane one minute then whoosh... he was gone! It was like he was instantly sucked out of the plane! He didn't just float away, he was gone!
I was so scared, but determined to conquer my fear and do this. My instructor reassured me that the worst was the waiting while the plane ascended and then simply getting over to the door. Once we were out of the door, he said, I'd be fine. I wasn't so sure about that....
But he was right! We tumbled out of the door and it was the strangest thing... I anticipated that it would feel like going down a big hill on a roller coaster, but it didn't. I think we were so high that initially I wasn't aware of the ground rushing up at me, only aware of the wind~ like a huge fan blowing in my face!
We free fell for about 60 seconds, then with great relief I felt the parachute deploy! At that point it got really fun... my tandem jump instructor pointed out to me the surrounding mountain ranges and then spun us in circles.... Oh! So fun! It was all over way too fast!
I was a little worried about the landing, but it was slow and easy... really no problem. Actually I ended up getting a bit tripped at the end, but didn't get hurt at all, just looked a little goofy, I'm sure!
Gabe captured this funny photo of me telling about how scared I was to slide over to the door of the plane before my jump! LOL!
We did it! That was a fun memory that I'll look back on for many years! I'm actually glad that my heart problem wasn't discovered earlier because I'm sure that I never would have been allowed to jump if I'd known! ; )
And now we are home again! I am so grateful that my parents bless me this way~ such fabulous adventures we had! Thanks Mom and Dad~ you are the best!