My Bungee Jump at the Last Resort in Nepal (64 yr old woman)

Jukin Media Verified (Original). * For licensing / permission to use: Contact - licensing(at)jukinmediadotcomThis morning seems a million miles away in my heart; I feel like a different person than I was yesterday. We rose at 4 a.m., got to Thamel by 5:45 where we joined a group for a 3-hour ride to the north of Nepal, just 15 kilometers from the border with Tibet. We were aiming for The Last Resort, a simple and serene get-away nestled in the mountains. From the main road (often washed out by monsoon rains), it can only be reached by foot over a long, swinging footbridge that is suspended above a wild river called the Bhote Kosi. We went there because of the beauty of the setting and because it has the highest bungee jump in Asia -- the bungee cord plunges 160 meters (520 feet) into the gorge of that frothy river. It would be the second bungee jump of my life, the first being in South Africa exactly 10 years ago. I don't have to tell you that all the other jumpers were in their 20s, and a few in their early 30s. We all lined up on the bridge and waited our turn to be harnessed, one by one, and pitch into the abyss. A few asked me shyly how old I was. All of them spoke of being scared, even terrified. Unlike them, I was not afraid. All my life I have had a fear of heights, but perhaps not the usual kind. I fear that I will throw myself off a bridge or a very tall building for that moment of exhilaration of flying. I want to fly! I do this in my dreams all the time. For years I have been afraid that I will do it without pre-meditation, just leap from a soaring height into the wind, catch the perfect warm air current, and soar into the sky like a hawk. This morning, I was searching for the jump that will finally, ultimately put to rest that craving in me -- the jump that will allow me to fly, but keep me safe. Therefore, unlike the others, I was not afraid. Finally, it was my turn. The bungee master worked for 10 minutes to outfit me. He put me into the body harness, then seated me and clamped my two feet together, pulling forcefully on the ropes to make them secure, as this is what connects me to safety and a soft landing. Then he removed my glasses, but there was no helmet -- if the line snaps, a helmet would be pointless. Finally he declared me ready and asked me to shuffle over to the tiny ledge that sticks out of the bridge - this is the takeoff point. Leaving the bridge and stepping onto the ledge, I began to feel the fear rise. I asked the bungee master to hold onto me until I was in place, and he gripped the back of my harness. I shuffled out until my shoes were at the very edge, half off the ledge and half on. I could hear the water churning a great distance below, could feel the winds buffet me, could taste the fear in my mouth. Give me a minute, I asked, and he didn't push. I looked down into the gorge, then up toward the mountains beyond, and allowed myself to feel this moment of perfect flight about to begin. "Peace," I said to no one, and threw myself out into the air, my face raised toward the sky, my back arched, a soaring bird in a perfect swan dive, my arms outstretched and open toward the heaven, welcoming the universe rushing quickly into me. I dropped quickly -- it takes seconds -- and bounced back several times, but the bounce was not what I was there for. It had been the perfect dive, the perfect soar, the wind under my wings, the universe holding me aloft. When they lowered me to the river bank, I felt the tears sting my eyes. I had met one little demon inside myself, and made friends with it. This one will not dare me again. We are in evening now, and there will be no way to send this off until Kathmandu on Monday. Judy and I are sitting outside as the sun goes down and brings the chill into the mountain air. One special bird is cawing in the tree, a call I have never heard before. He and I now have something in common. Gila