Pupils dilated. Head pounding with the rush of vehicles whirring across the pavement directly above. Five ... four ... three ... two ... one ... The dark catalog rears its ugly head as I prepare to leap. All that comes to the forefront of the conscious mind are the most morose associations. The suicide documentary The Bridge seems a good fit.
I leap out toward the western horizon with little more than shaky faith in the elastic and Velcro apparatus that binds my ankles. Even the folks around me who have done this dozens of times have the same intense look on their mugs. We are collectively hard-wired for adrenaline on this particular afternoon.
One-hundred-twenty mph comes quickly. I drop within a body length of the rushing water beneath, when the recoil stops me in place for a fraction of a second before launching me diagonally back toward the sky. A disorienting but invigorating feeling comes on strong.
Little do I know that the drive over was perhaps more dangerous. Perspective settles in five hours later, once I'm off the bridge and safely sitting on my quiet perch above a scenic canyon backdrop.
Recently I joined a group from Stanley's Over the Edge Bungee to careen headlong off of a 155-foot bridge. We agreed not to share the location of our jump so as not ruffle any administrative feathers with the authorities, but I can note that it was somewhere within two hours of Boise and from a completely legal platform.
Over the Edge Bungee is one of the most-prominent outfits in the United States with 20-plus jumps every year statewide. Owner-operator Eric Lyman has been hucking himself off of bridges for more than 22 years and still gets a rush every time he takes the plunge. Over the Edge has jumped from countless bridges in the Northwest, as well as Grand Canyon, Ariz.; Taos, N.M.; Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Royal Gorge Bridge in Canon City, Colo. (the highest in the United States at 1,053 feet), and Canada. In addition to bridges, Lyman has also bungee jumped from helicopters, hot-air balloons, cranes and cliffs.
"Bungee jumping is empowering and liberating," said Lyman. Along with a close-knit group of friends and family, he has established a cult following of thrill-seekers in search of a safe alternative to cliff jumping and sky diving--although the experience is entirely unique.
"There exists in the world an unlimited supply of suitable platforms, and lots of people who need an honest thrill," said Lyman.