I'm sorry it has been so long since I've updated this blog! During the week life is busy mostly with work and on the weekends it's obviously all fun and games! Two weekends ago, the group went to Queenstown. There were nine of us and we took Kevin's car and also rented a car. I went down in Kevin's car and, unfortunately, we got lost along the way. It was still a nice drive but we had to add about an extra hour to our travels. By the time we reached Queenstown, it was pouring rain and the other car had already unsuccessfully searched for campsites. All campsites were around $20 per night whereas staying at the Base X hostel was only $25. We decided to keep dry and stay there. This hostel holds about 150 kids so we had to share a room with two other people that we didn't know. We all walked around for the night just trying to get a sense of where we were and exploring some of the Queenstown nightlife. Around midnight, we went to sleep because we KNEW Saturday was going to be long. Everyone was planning on bungy jumping and we were waking up at 730 to meet at the travel place by eight to book our jumps! I could barely sleep that night just thinking about jumping but, surprisingly, it wasn't really fear. I was more excited for the thrill of it all than scared of actually jumping!
Finally, Saturday morning rolled around and we all assembled downstairs with all of our overnight bags. We walked to the cars to put our bags away before heading to the A.J. Hackett Booking Agency to try and get on the first bungy of the day. Six of us did the Nevis Bungy - the highest in NZ and third highest i the world (440 ft) - and the other two did the Kawaru Bungy - only 134 ft and you are jumping off of a bridge. I had decided that if I was going to jump, I wanted to do the biggest I could. It's go big or go home right? We traveled on a bus for about twenty minutes before dropping off all of the bridge jumpers. When they all got off, there were seven of us heading to Nevis (six in our group and one other male). We had to transfer to a smaller shuttle after another ten minutes and then took a ten minute ride up to our jump. Along the way I started to get a little more nervous but I wasn't letting my mind focus on it. As soon as we got there we were harnessed in and on our way out to the jump site. We had to take a small sort of cable car to get to the platform that was suspended between the mountains. One of the workers was informing us about how after the second bounce, we were going to be pulling a cord that would release our feet and allow us to be brought back up face up (like normal - we would just be harnessed by the waist). She said this was much more pleasant than coming up upside down (for those of you who have seen the video, you know the end result - for those that haven't read on if it isn't obvious yet!). Each jumper only took about five minutes for the entire process to be completed. After what felt like mere seconds, it was my turn to jump. I sat in a chair while the workers connected me to the bungy and informed me more about the cord to pull on my left side. They made sure the harnesses were tight, told me to say goodbye to the cameras and then helped me make my way out to the ledge. This was it - the moment of truth. I knew I was going to look down and be afraid but I was not leaving that platform without jumping. I really wanted to do this. I waved goodbye to my friends and then the guy behind me started to countdown. Instinctively, when he reached one, I jumped without even thinking for more than a quarter of a second. Then, after screaming for a second while thinking "what did I just do?" I realized that it was fun and I loved the thrill of it all. It was only eight seconds of freefall but it felt so much longer. The scariest part for me before I jumped was reaching the bottom and popping back up - I was unsure and uneasy about this feeling. After the first pop up, I was satisfied and thoroughly enjoying myself. After the second, I tried to pull the lever and it wasn't releasing my legs. I tried and tried (again for those of you who have seen the video you can see me physically curling my body up to try and yank at it) but I didn't have the strength to release them. Eventually, I gave in to the fact that I would be brought up upside and just decided to enjoy the view as best I could. When they pulled me up, I was in shock that I had actually done it but I felt great!
While we were waiting for others to finish up, my friend Caitlin looks at me and says "do the swing with me." This swing is called the Nevis Arc and it is the largest swing in the world starting at 646ft above the ground. You could go backwards, upside, forwards, side to side, individually, or with another person. She really wanted to do it but not alone. I told her I couldn't; I had had enough of a thrill for one day. But then she said those words that seem to change everything - "we're in New Zealand, come on" and of course, I was sold. We waited for like an hour and then got harnessed in for the swing. Caitlin wanted to go upside down and backwards but I could not handle both so we just planned on going backwards (for those who have seen pictures or watched the video, you know we did end up unintentionally going upside down and I can tell you that was one of the scariest moments in my life thus far). The guy running the swing was joking around with us before we went and after telling us to say goodbye to the cameras he said "so do you guys want a countdown or did you want a surprise" and with the word surprise, he dropped us. Caitlin and I were both taken so offguard that we screamed our heads off as we flipped over while flying down. Once that first drop was over, it was really great to just swing back and forth and take in more of the scenery. (We also kept pointing saying how much we hated that guy for doing that but, all in all, it adds to the excitement and the story.) For those of you who haven't seen the pictures or the videos, I strongly recommend that you watch them! They are unbelievable and I am working on trying to get them in an email for anyone that does not have a facebook!
We took the buses back down and met our friends for lunch by the pier. There was a small market going on so we looked around while enjoying the beautiful day and still getting over the shakiness that had overtaken our bodies from the adrenalin. Some of the group members went to go check out a campsite for the night while Caitlin and I rode the gondola to the top of the Skyline. From here, we could see over all of Queenstown and it was absolutely spectacular. After a while of gazing and browsing the tourist shop they have at the top, we hiked down one of the trails and walked back to the beach. We hung out here for a while before deciding to go explore. On our exploration, we climbed huge rocks, went on regular swings (which we both decided weren't as fun as the Nevis Arc), and walked around the edges of the beach. Finally, our group was back in town and we met them for dinner and to take pictures near the beach at night. We walked around for a while and explored a little more of the Queenstown nightlife before driving back to our campsite and hanging out a bonfire before bed. A couple of us sat around the bonfire talking until about midnight before going to sleep.
The next morning, we woke up around seven to try and make the sunrise. Although we made it, the day was much too cloudy to really see anything but it was still good to get an early start on the drive back. Tyler, Caitlin, and I slept mostly the entire way while Katie and Alex talked in the front seats. When we returned back to 61 Duke, we all unpacked, skyped with our parents about our bungy experience, and took long overdue naps. It was then time to do work and let the week take its normal path.