Wednesday morning Stacy, Shawn, Landon and I awoke bright and early to go surfing again. Well- it wasn't bright quite yet, but it was early. We drove out the spot where the wind was least invasive so we could get in our morning sesh. I even got up on the wakeboard for a few minutes before we headed back for breakfast.
The rope swing was set up by Sam, the man who had played to Oscar worthy prank on us the night before. And I'll be honest when I questioned whether I could really trust the man after that. He doesn't actually work for Redmond either, he and his wife were on the trip because they were friends with one of the guys there. So when word got out that he had set up a rope swing, we were told if we were going to go on it, Redmond wasn't going to be responsible for any injuries or death (seriously) that may occur. Did any of that sway my desire to take the plunge? Of course not.
Landon on the other hand was on the fence about the whole thing. He refused to make any sort of commitment until he got there to see the entire set up. The boat dropped us off down the channel a bit from the actual rope swing; we had a decent hike up the cliffs and back to where it was set up. Landon and Shawn hiked up with me and the six or so others but still were not decided if they were going to jump or hike back down. When we got to the spot we looked over the edge and it got so real.
That white line marks 85 feet, the ledge we stepped off was another 40 feet above that. Looking at this picture is daunting enough, but I cannot describe to you what actually being up there was like. It was so very clear that if for some reason the ropes failed and we hit the water, it meant death. And seeing the little harness we would wear with a single carabiner that hooked to the rope didn't seem nearly like what you would want keeping you tied to the living world. But it was. And so, one by one we lined up to get fitted in our harnesses. Landon and Shawn were still only observing for the time being as I stepped up to the edge.
I was so excited and so, so terrified. I can honestly tell you that I've never been so scared in my entire life. And I have been skydiving and done my fair share of adrenaline inducing activities. But this? This was just a rope swing set up by some guy who invented the Squatty Potty and is really good at pranking strangers. So making the decision to trust this man and his homemade rope swing was literally a leap of faith. I was so nervous that I was jumping up and down while I waited for Sam to get the rope pulled back up which made everyone else nervous for me. They told me to step away from the edge until I was safely harnessed if I was going to be jumping around like that. I figured that was a good idea. Once I was in the harness, I stepped up to the edge and tried to remember to breathe as everyone started to countdown from five. Those five seconds were brutal and I knew I had no choice but to take the step off once they reached zero.
And once they all yelled zero, I did it. I stepped right off the edge to free fall 120 ft. I've never experienced such and intense stomach drop and boy did I scream. It was one of those screams that should have shattered windows. It was every ounce of terror leaving my body in a matter of four seconds.
Once the line was taut and I was officially swinging, the screams of fear turned to screams of delight, and I had the adrenaline rush of a lifetime. I'm going to post the video, but trust me when I tell you to turn down your volume or else anyone near you will think you're murdering someone.
I still get mad butterflies watching that. After you were done swinging for the most part, then you had to focus on getting down which was still a task in itself. There was a loop on the rope that you had to put your foot into so you could stand yourself up on it enough to unclasp the carabiner. It sounds easy enough, but doing that on a swinging rope is a lot harder than it sounds. And then, once you were unhooked, you had to wait until you were about to swing forward and then let go and sort of jump backwards so you wouldn't get caught in the rope when you dropped the 20 feet down into the water. I did it pretty smoothly, though my left arm was away from my body when I hit the water and that didn't feel great, I'll be honest.
When I got back to the ski boat, I grabbed my towel to dry off and looked up to see who was next and I was completely shocked when I saw the bright pink shorts Landon was famous for wearing the entire trip standing at the edge. He said after I jumped he knew he wouldn't live it down if he didn't jump also. And he said that he needed to do it sooner rather than later before he talked himself out of it. And in complete contrast to myself, he didn't make a peep except for a single, "Woo!" in the entire jumping and swinging process. When we were laughing about it, he said he was so petrified, he physically couldn't make a sound. You can turn your volume up for this one, because that little "Woo!" kills me every time. :)
We both agree that this rope swing was the most extreme thing we've ever done. One might argue that skydiving is more extreme, but there is a certain validity to it that rope swing just didn't have. Plus, having a trained professional in charge and two parachutes is a lot more comforting that trusting an amateur and a single carabiner.
Ugh. Looking back at these photos and videos still gives me a thrill. Shawn was up next after Landon. I was so proud of all of us for being so brave! We only did it once each, but 10/10 I would do again given the chance. And it was one of those things that you'll always look back on and be like, "Yeah! I did that and it was INSANE!" Landon actually cut his finger open when he dropped. He thinks he got it caught in the rope, but isn't totally sure because he didn't actually feel it. Probably from all the adrenaline. He only realized that he was cut because after we took this photo he saw all this blood on my back! GROSS.
Aside from Landon's hurt finger, the only other real setback we had with the swing was when Doug, our house boat captain went off it. He was the last one to go and he was pretty nervous about the entire thing; we really peer pressured him to do it. We all cheered and hollered when he jumped, but when it came time for him to unclip and drop in, he didn't have quite enough strength to get out of the whole get up. I feel like I need to reiterate that standing up in that loop, holding yourself there with one hand while the rope is swinging back and forth and you're trying to get the carabiner undone with the other hand is not easy. And after such a surge of adrenaline, you were left feeling absolutely exhausted. So it was very understandable that he didn't have enough energy to do that. We were starting to get worried when he really wasn't able to get himself out of it. Sam was still up on top and said was going to cut the rope. Darryl yelled up to Sam and told him to hold off for just a little longer, then he threw on some wake boarding gloves, pulled the ski boat underneath Doug, grabbed hold of the rope and CLIMBED UP IT TO HIM. Then he was able to help Doug hold himself up long enough to unclip the carabiner, then hold onto him as we backed the boat out from under them and then dropped Doug into the water. It was SO RAD. Darryl was the hero of the day and we were all so proud of Doug for being brave enough to do the swing. He said he was never going to do it again, though. haha
Once we were all done at the rope swing, we went back to the camp to eat some lunch and chill out for a bit. We went to lay out on the deck, but were only there for about five minutes when Darryl came to find us to see if we wanted to go ride the air chair. I was the only taker out of our little group, Landon and the others still wanted some R&R, but I had always wanted to try the air chair and wasn't about to pass up the opportunity.
I don't know if you guys know what an air chair is, but it's basically a seat on top of a ski, and depending on how you shift your weight you can get that sucker to FLY out of the water. It's insane. I watched Darryl and Sam ride it before I tried it out and they made it look so easy. I'll be honest, I was a little frustrated with this contraption; usually I can pick things up pretty quickly. But the air chair? That sucker was hard! I probably tried 8 or 9 times and the longest I was able to stay up was not quite 10 seconds. They told me I had done really great for a beginner, and after watching some of the others who were noobs, I did feel a little bit better for sucking, but man- I've got my work cut out for me for next year's trip!
After we had spent another hour or two on the air chair, it was time to go back to the boat for dinner. This was our last night there so they really went all out. I mean, the food the entire trip was unreal, but that night they had flown in Alaskan King Crab legs and filet mignon!! Like, are you kidding me?! And then just an entire barrage of sides that were garden fresh and absolutely mind blowing.
I want to cry just looking at this. I mean, Alaskan King Crab and Filet Mignon. COME ON. And we devoured this feast off paper plates and plastic utensils. Like, that just doesn't get any more epic in my opinion. They really outdid themselves and I fear no meal nor trip will ever live up to this one.
We ate our fill and then sat back to enjoy the movie of our trip that the MJ the media guy had been putting together for the entire week. It was weirdly sentimental to me in that I had only met these people 4 days ago and I was watching this movie of all the memories we had made and felt such a strong bond with them. It did not feel like we were a bunch of acquaintances, but real, genuine friends. And I still feel that way. And I can't help but think what a cool company Redmond is, that they can do that for their employees. I have told Landon probably 73 times since that he can't ever quit this job.
Once the movie was over, they brought out the ice cream and orchard fresh peach cobbler they had made with peaches that Will and Jaime had flown in from Colorado with them. I CANNOT WITH THE FOOD, YOU GUYS. It will never be done justice by my mere words. You will all just have to get jobs with Redmond so you can come on the trip next year and see what I mean. We died all over again with how good it was and then we all gathered around tables to play games for the rest of the night. We played Hedbanz which I think is pretty much the same as Ellen's game Heads Up where you hold cards on your forehead with a band and you have to ask everyone else questions and try to guess as many cards as you can in one minute. We played late into the night and laughed so hard we probably burned off half of our dinner.
After a couple hours, we were absolutely drained and decided to call it a night. It was a little sad for me because it was basically calling it a night on the whole trip and I just was not ready to say goodbye to my new friends, the adventures and the food (especially the food).
And that is a wrap on night four.
BRB while I get some tissues because I miss this place and people so bad!