Up Up & Away

Found this video clip online today. Apparently this took place a few days ago, in celebration of the last super moon of 2019.  I’m pretty sure I would have thought it was a meteor or meteoroid (apparently there is a serious difference in the scientific world) if I had seen it live.  Glad to know the police had been forewarned.

But seriously, jump out of a helicopter at 4,000 feet? Obviously the jumpers could breathe at this altitude, since Mount Everest is a lot higher, but still….jump out of a helicopter at 4,000 feet?  Gives me the wilies.

I’ve done two really scary things in my life. Both of them within 3 days of each other.  When YA was just a year old, I was offered the trip of a lifetime to Kenya and Tanzania.  We started in Nairobi and traveled around for 8 days, staying at a different lodge every night.  We had early morning and late afternoon safari runs, entertainment and massive amounts of great food.

I knew prior to the trip that an option hot-air balloon ride would be offered and I convinced my boss that I should be allowed to expense it. If you had asked me before this if I would EVER get in a hot air balloon, the answer would have been an unequivocal “no”.  When faced with this option however, I couldn’t get past the idea that I would be sorry to let an opportunity like this pass me by.  I was correct – it was fabulous and nothing like I expected.  We even had a wonderful breakfast cooked for us in the bush after we came down, complete with champagne.

Two days later, the group met a pilot who was doing open-air biplane tourist flights around Mount Kenya. He came and spoke to our group at a cocktail reception and at the end of his talk, he mentioned that the group leader had said there would be time for one flight in the morning before we left; was anyone interested?  I had my hand up so fast that I almost pulled my arm out of my socket.  Again – fabulous, complete with leather jackets and silk scarves and Out of Africa music playing in our headphones. I felt like Dennis Finch Hatton.

So I’ve overcome my fear twice for experiences that were over the top. But I’m still fairly sure no one will ever convince me to bungee jump.  Or fling myself out of a helicopter at 4,000 feet.

What scary things have you done?

32 thoughts on “Up Up & Away”

    1. I made it through two hospilizations where the doctors didn’t have a diagnosis for me, but their guess was that it was very serious. One turned out to be totally curable with the right antibiotic, the other not so easily curable.

      I actually was not that scared while I was in the hospital; I’m more scared thinking of the future. Especially if that guy in the white house has his way and the ACA and its protection of preexisting conditions is wiped out.

      Liked by 4 people

  1. I am getting more and more fearful about heights, especially driving in mountains, looking over cliffs or high structures etc. I am not fearful of flying in commercial airplanes, but you would never get me up in a balloon, helicopter, or small plane.

    The other day an adult male became very upset in my office and spent about 40 minutes yelling and shouting . It alarmed the others on my floor so much a couple of them sat outside my door to intervene if necessary. I wasn’t scared at all. Those sorts of things don’t scare me.

    I think I reported here on the Trail that last summer I rescued a little parrot that was on our deck and got it to perch on my finger even though I am afraid of birds. That took more bravery from me than sitting in an office with a ranting and angry person.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Acrophobia seems age-bound. As a child I climbed tall trees like a squirrel. At 12 I galloped on horses, careening about in the saddle. In both cases I was fearless. I am now terrified by any height and would not willingly climb a chair to reach a high cabinet.

      This seems a natural progression. For example, I like to keep my apartment tidy. But bending down to pick up things on the floor is harder all the time. They keep putting the floor farther away from me.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I think I would be very comfortable and happy climbing trees if I still had the physical capacity to do so. I only get anxious with heights when I don’t have anything to hang on to.


  2. It takes bravery to operate a pressure cooker, even an electric one.

    For some reason, the social workers and counselors at my agency are terrified of working with children age 5 and under. I am trying to reduce their anxiety about that. I find such trepidation puzzling.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like to think I would have happily taken the rides on the hot air balloon and the biplane had I had the opportunity.
    The most terrifying thing that comes to mind and to which I have alluded before was driving in Wales. It was not so much the driving on the “wrong” side because half the times the roads we were on were single track and there was no wrong side. It was that those single track roads were in many cases winding and lined on both sides by eight foot hedges. I would have proceeded cautiously because you never knew when you would encounter a car coming the other way and pull-offs weren’t always available, but I was also being pushed into uncomfortable speeds by the traffic piling up behind me. It was bad enough in the daytime but we were there in late October and early November and it got dark around 5PM, so it was difficult to entirely avoid driving at night, when the cars you would meet and the ones piling up behind you were just a string of headlights.

    I would go to bed each night with my hands clenched in a death grip from clutching the steering wheel.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Bill, this would terrifying me completely as well. That’s why when I go out on my travels I do not drive. Unless I’m on Maui or the Big Island. My only exceptions.


      1. Daughter wants to drive in Iceland. I told her just make sure you rent a car with an automatic transmission. She doesn’t know how to drive a shift.


        1. I don’t know the situation in Iceland, but in Wales automatic transmission cars were nonexistant.


        2. Driving in Iceland should be a piece of cake. Except for in Reykjavik, there should be little traffic, and they do drive on the right hand side of the road. Daughter should have no trouble finding a rental car with automatic transmission.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve driven in England, Scotland and Wales. Early on, it was easy because I had the courage of the ignorant. I was out of my depth, but assumed other drivers would recognize me for the dumb tourist I was. Then I realized many other drivers were city folks on holiday, and they knew less about driving than I. Even so, most of my driving was fun because there were so few cars sharing the roads. That changed when I drove in the famous Lakes Region. The roads were just as skinny, but the traffic and its speed were altogether terrifying.


    2. I think it was Wales where I snapped the axel on the rent a car on just such a road. Cost me 4 hours but I got to hang out in a quirk little village. I got to drive the uk for an extended period then come back to where I began and was amazed at how much wider all those roads looked the second time around

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I have a pretty serene life. My first pregnancy terrified me as I had to be convinced it was OK for me to be a mother and I would be good. We were married 7 years before we had kids.

    The first time I drove by myself after getting my license was scary for me. In the middle lane of a 4-lane road, you’re boxed in by cars in the right lane and oncoming traffic to your left. It took me a long time to get used to that.

    Driving in blizzards, bad weather, bad roads, etc., terrify me as well. I really enjoy taking the bus to and from work.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Although I am afraid now of heights (Steve’s right, increases with age), the stuff that gets my heart thumping is sometime human interactions – confrontations – that I know are going to be difficult – with a co-worker once about accessing porn at work; with a neighbor over our differences. And the one that I would have nightmares about was walking into a room of screaming kindergarteners.

    Then there’s “stage fright” when I’ve had to accompany on piano at UU, or giving a talk (remember speech class??).

    And yes, driving in dense for or whiteout conditions..

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m not much of a daredevil, at least not anymore. I sometimes shudder at some of the things I did when I was younger, but somehow, flying in a hot air balloon didn’t seem scary to me. I’ve done it twice, and loved it. Parasailing, on the other hand, I had to work up my courage to try, and when I did, it was exhilarating. I’d do both again in a heartbeat.

    The scariest thing I ever did was my first dive from a ten meter platform. I recall standing up there i my wet swimsuit, shivering, trying to gather up the courage to make the dive. My coach was standing poolside shouting encouragement alternating with threats and ridicule. That pool seemed so far away and very small. Eventually, my fear of facing my coach if I climbed back down those steps proved greater than my fear of jumping. I never did get comfortable diving from that height. It’s really painful hitting the water from that height is you have screwed up the dive. It’s amazing how much difference there is between five and ten meters when you’re standing on that platform.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think those wing suit things look really really wonderful! Flying like a bird or as close as one can get to it. If I was younger I’d do it.

    Kelly and I and our son have all parachuted. That was a lot of fun and almost boring after the chute opened. Next time (I fully intend for there to be a next time) let’s free fall longer and float less.
    I specifically didn’t look up anything about it so that it would all be a surprise to me.
    We did this a couple years ago and It was the tandem jump thing so I’m strapped to another experienced jumper. It was surprising how loud and windy it is in these airplanes. The duck tape stuck on the dash panel didn’t give me the most confidence in the plane but we already had parachutes so what could go wrong??
    And then we get to the open door and it’s just wind and loud and I can’t get my foot on the little step he wanted me to step on and so then he just PUSHED and the plane was upside down and we were falling. Then the chute opened and we floated. Took, I don’t know, five minutes to reach the ground. That was the boring part; you’re just hanging there. I should have asked for more swirls or something.

    And then there’s the hole in my shed roof. Lost a skylight panel. They get old and brittle; it happens. And I called my 35 yr old friend to come fix it because I wasn’t comfortable getting up on the roof. I blame my wonky foot and knee because making that step around the ladder onto the roof is the tough part. But I could put the loader bucket up there, climb the ladder, step into the bucket and be chest high to the roof so I could supervise. That wasn’t a problem. And I felt really discouraged that I wasn’t up there helping him. it made me feel old.
    Is 55 to old to be on a shed roof? Doesn’t seem like it should be…

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Jumping out of a plane, even with a parachute, seems dangerous to me. Pretty sure I couldn’t bring myself to do it unless the plane was on fire. But good for you, Ben. I wonder if Kelly enjoyed it enough so that she, too, would do it again?

      As far as the roof thing, I’d say stay off any roof you’re not comfortable on no matter your age. Youtube already has plenty of videos of people having spectacular accidents.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I know I’m just different
    I was disappointed to see them pull the parachute when they got downtown, that seemed like he exciting part turning between the buildings

    I’d go now if someone offered me a suit and a helicopter or a cliff

    I don’t get much of a chance to do daring stuff these days although the guy at my warehouse makes me feel macho. He won’t do heights. I have ladders here and there but still shinny up the shelves with climbing skills regularly
    Did the hot air ballon it felt like meditation. Hiking on a ledge gets a tingle in my legs I just love. I have all but given up on my Everest but if offered a trip to antarctica or on an outing I’ll go if I can

    I noticed it hurts more when I fall so I probably won’t do it as many times before I focus on form.
    Flying squirrel suits particularly apply

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have two towers on our property. One is AT&T Cellular and the other was a 2-way radio tower. When the second was first built I climbed 1/2 way up; 145′. My plan was to go the top when I started. 280 feet didn’t seem that high. But 145 was high enough. It doesn’t wiggle of course, and I think I had a little Kodak disc camera. Took a few pictures and climbed back down.
      Our Silos are 50′; they don’t wiggle either. I’m OK with heights as long as I have something to hang on too.
      We use the genie lift or scissor lift often. Both go to about 40′. The genie wiggles and my toes clench. The scissor lift wiggles too especially if driving while at height. But it sure is convenient. Wouldn’t trade it.
      I use a lot of ladders while hanging lights. Step ladders, extension ladders… there’s a skill to moving an extension ladder that a lot of people don’t have or know. I’ve been moving ladders since I was young and measuring grain bins when I was a field reporter for the USDA.
      Ladders are easy.
      Except that step around the top… 🙂
      There are railings; I just need some railings then I’ll be OK.


      Liked by 2 people

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