Hello! James and Jenny DeNooyer (Team Red) here. Typically a team has to win a challenge in order to gain the privilege of writing the blog, but today we were rewarded the honors for achieving nothing at all!
We’re pretty sure that you could ask just about anyone on the trip and they would tell you that today was their favorite day thus far. We woke up before sunrise and all began preparing ourselves for the activity many of us have been looking forward to since the beginning of the trip: SKY-DIVING! So far this has been the only optional activity in the Amazing Race, but everyone rose to the challenge and decided to make the jump.
The nerves set in for most when we pulled up to Skydive Arizona and even more so when we all made the final commitment to making the jump. If the fear of plunging 13,000 feet wasn’t enough, it just so happened that we decided to visit Arizona during one of the coldest times of the year. We were told that we should wear as many layers as possible because for every 1,000 feet we went up, the temperature of the air went down by 3 degrees. This meant we were going to be jumping out of the plane into -48 degree weather. Actually, we made that number up, but it was still unbelievably cold. We all did our best to bundle up and we drew numbers from a hat to see who would jump first. Six of us went up at a time while the rest of the group waited nervously on the ground.
Most of the group would agree that the plane ride up was the most nerve-wrecking part of the experience. Our instructors harnessed us in nice and tight as we ascended to 13,000 ft. and once we reached the perfect height, it was time to jump. They opened the door and we all got ready to approach the edge of the plane. Everyone agreed that we barely had time to think about the jump because before we knew it, we were out of the plane and free falling through the air.
The feeling was absolutely unreal. It felt less like falling and more like flying—so incredible. Thankfully all 28 parachutes deployed and we each made it safely to the ground. Some of us even got to steer the parachutes as we prepared for landing.
Everyone had a similar reaction after landing, and most said it was the coolest/craziest/most amazing thing they have ever done in their lives and they would love to do it again. The group was able to bond over this challenge, whether it was sharing fears of death beforehand, or bonding over the joy of living afterwards, we all walked away with a truly memorable experience.
It sounds fun, but how was this a challenge, you may ask? That part is yet to come. Last night all of the teams were given the task of writing a poem that encapsulates the entire feel of our wild day of skydiving. We have to pour our hearts and souls out into 3 stanzas and I don’t think anyone will disappoint. Be sure to look for an update on this in the near future!
Until then, be sure to vote for Team Red as your favorites J
Jenny & James DeNooyer – Team Red