Growing up in a mountain town, you learn to make your own fun. Which sounds like such a cliche, I know, but it’s true.
In high school, most extracurricular activities — legal and, otherwise — revolved around the outdoors. In the winter it was skiing or snowmobiling. Tubing on Peet’s Hill. Oh, and Hookey-bobbing. Which just means hanging onto your friend’s car bumper while the driver pulls you along icy streets. Alcohol and a complete absence of common sense go a looong way.
In the summer it was waterskiing and floating the rivers. It was sitting in natural hot springs [keeping a watchful eye out for bears]. Flyfishing. And cliff jumping.
The key was to point your toes and keep your hands at your sides. Forget this important detail, and … well … we’d all heard the stories of people splitting the bottoms of their feet and the palms of their hands wide open upon impact.
Sometimes, we’d go well past dark, gathering around a bonfire on the bank opposite the cliffs. Inevitably, someone would rally a few fellow idiots willing to throw caution to the wind and jump blindly into the night. Those of us who chose to stay dry [and continue drinking], would aim our car headlights at the face of the cliffs, sit back in our lawn chairs and watch for a split-second glimpse of the jumpers before they disappeared into black waters.
Miraculously, there were never any serious injuries sustained as a result of THIS pasttime. When I think of what COULD’VE happened, my heart skips a beat.
If you can, just for a moment, forget about the sheer stupidity of this scenario.
The feeling of stepping off that cliff’s edge — of breathlessly falling through thin air … the delicious blissed-out mixture of exhilaration and freedom and healthy fear …
That’s how I’ve felt all day.