February 17, 2006

So many ways to throw yourself off a cliff

Crazy Mzungus (white people)! Who else would want to jump into a gorge for fun?

I had the same thought as I stood with my back to the edge of the gorge, attached by a harness and rope, with my feet bound. The Gorge Swing is a contraption where you jump off of the edge and freefall until the length of rope goes taut, and you swing the rest of the way across the gorge. It was terrifying as I went down backwards, which they assured me was less frightening than going forwards. Even though I wanted to, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I had no idea where I was, how far I was from the bottom. I would keep expecting the rope to catch and start the swing, but it kept on not being there, until I really began to fear that it would never catch. Then bam! and my head would whip back and I was safe on the upswing.

For my second jump I had an audience of Zambian tax inspectors, who watched me be put in a harness. I let out what Jonathan described as “a blood curdling scream” as soon as my feet left the ledge, evidently scaring the daylights out of the Zambians. Crazy Mzungu!

At this point, I was really ready to be done. It wasn’t any less terrifying the second time around. Plus, at the end of each swing, we had to climb 300 ft back out of the gorge, in 90 degree direct sun. I was tired, and I didn’t need to do it again.

But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do a tandem jump with Jonathan, harnessed together at the hip and holding each other around our waists. While it was more comforting to be holding him as we stepped off the ledge, we also went much, much faster with our combined weights, and swung much higher. It felt as if we were plummeting towards the earth, and despite doing my best not to scream, it ripped out of me probably just a second after we left the platform. Check out the video clip, or the photos.

I don’t ever want to hear from him that there is anywhere I wouldn’t follow him. :)

In addition, I tried Rappeling and Rap jumping, where you run going face first down a cliff. My favorite was the Flying Fox, where I was attached to a line that ran straight across the gorge, and you run at full speed and spread out your arms. It really felt as if I were flying. The view was spectacular, and I could see my shadow all the way down on the gorge floor.

I had no idea that there was so many ways to jump off a cliff. Ropes and harnesses are amazing things…


  1. You are nuts! But a brave one.

    Comment by chi 5 — February 19, 2006 @ 11:20 pm

  2. Awesome with a capital A!

    Comment by Seth — February 23, 2006 @ 7:59 am

  3. Cool! I have always wanted to jump off a cliff. Danielle says I can do it but need to up my life insurance first.

    Comment by Ken — March 13, 2006 @ 5:49 am

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