Canyon Swinging

Trip Start Oct 28, 2004
Trip End Aug 08, 2005

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Friday, March 18, 2005

We've been in Queenstown for two months now and have yet to take advantage of the adrenaline induced activities. That is until today when we went Canyon Swinging.

Molly, Lindsay and myself pulled together our nerves and headed up to the canyon with six others, including a pink unicorn named Priscilla the size of the ultimate stuffed animal prize you would win at the county fair. Priscilla belonged to a guy traveling with the Kiwi Experience (the big green bus that just carts travelers from one point to the next, dictating where you stay and urging you to party all night) and he treated her like she was a real person. Aparently Priscilla accompanied him to a bar the night before where he won a free canyon swing. The pink pony seemed to calm everyones impending fears and give us all something to talk about.

Once we got to the jump site we were able to marvel at the canyon's insane beauty while watching others hurl themselves screaming into it. Priscilla and his keeper were among the first to jump and keeping with the trend, they jumped together, just as they had done on the bungee jump the previous day. I suppose the guys running the place were used to antics like these. The pictures posted everywhere boasted images of Jack Black, men dressed as old women, a few people jumping naked, and even a man funneling beer before his descend.

By the time it was our turn to get harnessed in and walk to the platform we were all a bit nervous. For some reason I was chosen to take the inagural jump between the three of us. The uniqueness of the canyon swing allows you to choose how you jump. There are several different styles to choose from, including having them release you while you are hung upside down, jumping backwards, falling from a chair, or going with a barrel over your head. I was keen on a number of them but the guys decided that since I had never done it before it would be the best to make it as difficult as possible and make me stand at the edge and jump myself. I was hoping for a jump where they would just release me, keeping me from having to take the initial mind blowing step off the platform. Not the case. I can honestly say that I was more nervous than I have ever been but after 30 seconds I jumped off and fell 90m before making it into a sitting position and swinging through the canyon for 200m. It was fantastic (although I think my eyes were closed when they shouldn't have been) and I was glad they made me walk off. The pictures at the end proved just how hesitant I was and showed me in sort of a fetal position. Quite graceful.

Lindsay was next and had a heck of a time advancing to the edge. She chose to hang upside down over the canyon and have them release her. The guys were great and gave her enoucouraging words until she was strapped in and hanging, although she was promising them that she didn't really want to do it. In the end, she was glad they made her do it.

Then came Molly who also decided to jump straight off. They strapped her in and she just ran off. I was envious that she didn't step to the edge to look down first because she looked like she had no fear. And her pictures weren't nearly as bad as mine.

It was a great trip and we are thinking we'll go again at some point. Molly's got her sights on the Nevis Bungee which is a 100+ meter fall, the highest in the world, but I'm not sure if I'll be joining her. Who knows...we've got a few months to decide before we leave.
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