Jump off Bridge, Take a Leap of Faith

Experience Issue 184 Mar, 2017
Text by Prabin Maharjan / Photo: The Last Resort

A bungy jump becomes so much more as the author faces his fears and takes a leap into open air despite them.

I’ve been hopping in my dreams for years. It generally means a sign of taking a leap of faith of some kind. Things we see in dreams might be unreal, but the experiences are. In my dreams I had been experiencing gravity for a long time subconsciously. I witnessed gravity again, but in real life, when I jumped off the 160-meter-high bridge at Bhotekoshi last year. The canyon-swing at The Last Resort allowed anxious me to free-fall 100 meters at 150 km/h and defy gravity.  My eyes shut down reflexively at the instant of jumping, and shut down again and again. This is how the mind took over my body to protect self. Momentarily, the realization came that I hadn’t been screaming, hadn’t even been making a sound at all. Swinging in and swinging out, I told myself that it was one dreamy ride.

I and a friend bungee-jumped this year at The Last Resort, which operates all the adventure sport programs here. I observed them to be very professional in what they were doing. We had been called to check in at 7:45 a.m. at their office at Mandala Street, Thamel, and as soon as everybody showed up, we departed for the resort at eight. The ride was bumpy and not very interesting, crossing a few rivers and hills time and again. When we reached there, at around 2:00 p.m., the first thing we saw was the suspension bridge itself, from where we had to take our jumps. Beautifully installed over a 160-meter-high gorge, and over one of Nepal’s wildest rivers, the bridge, along with The Last Resort, have represented Nepal as one of the popular destinations in the world for adventure sport.

The height of the bridge and the gradually growing consciousness of jumping off it made us anxious as we walked over to the resort.  Our group of adventure seekers was briefed thoroughly on how to jump correctly, and the procedures associated with coming back. The crew here is what makes all the different types of jumps possible. Not only concerning the technical issues, but also the moral boost they provide to the jumpers from the very beginning to the last second of the jump is remarkable.

It was fun watching others struggle to gather their courage for taking the big jump, but when my turn came, I admit I was scared for real. The crew tied up my gear, briefed me on all the procedures again. I slowly took the ‘penguin steps’ forward up to the furthest point of the bridge. Half step on the bridge and half out. The big sky above me, the picturesque view as far as I could see, and the deep river below. The crew member holding me from the back let go of his hands and started making the count for me to jump. That was the point where I met fear in its truest form, realizing I was the only one, alone; silence fell all over and my mind blanked out. I only heard the final count of three. I thought of nothing, just took the big dive as If it was the last one for me. When I opened up my eyes, I was free-falling so fast, I could hear nothing but the sharp sound of wind, and experienced nothing but the gravity. As I reached the furthest point of the stretchable rope, I bounced back, to which my body couldn’t react immediately. But that’s when I started having the real fun, falling and bouncing, again and again. For a while, which felt like a long time, I was in the air, hopping, with my faith on the ropes.

When my jump was over, I was pulled up from the bridge itself, where I was applauded by fellow jumpers waiting for their turn. My dive had been a good one, which I later realized on watching the video recorded by the crew. The applause means a lot as people often bungee-fall rather than dive, although they feel they had a good dive.

On completion of everybody’s jump in the group, we were greeted by the resort with its delicious lunch at the beautiful dining hall surrounded by the natural beauty of the locale. After the typical Nepali lunch, everybody received t-shirts made by the resort itself, watched the videos of them taking the falls and dives. Now was the time to head home, when I realized that it was just the difference of a second between what you want to and what you do. But the second feels like forever, and demands a lot of courage to overcome it. The simple pat on the shoulders and simple words telling us that we can do it at this instant makes a big difference, which the experienced crew at The Last Resort understand. As we headed back, we couldn’t be happier with our achievement.

When the photos and video of my dive were delivered after three days, imprinted in the casing was, ‘brave enough’. I couldn’t be more thankful to the crew who made everything possible.

I enjoyed the canyon-swing as well, it gave me twice as much of free-fall compared to what the bungee jump provided me. But bungee is my favorite, the experience I had when I bounced back is something I will cherish for a long time to come. Tandem swing is the newest addition in The Last Resort’s adventure sport list, where two people can take the fall simultaneously. Tandem swing is something I’m sure I look forward to doing.