Free Fall Adventures: The Life of QUICKjump

Waking

The first thing I remember is darkness and bouncing. When the jostling stops I feel myself being lifted, carried, and set down. A little time passes and nothing happens. Suddenly light floods in, and I am blinded. When I can finally see again I am looking up into blue sky. There are some trees and a tower. There is a human working above me on the tower, but I can't see what he is doing.

After the human has finished his work, he comes down and takes me out of my box. Now there are multiple humans all wearing the same shirt around me. Who are they, and what am I doing here? I can barely process my new surroundings let alone these people and what they are doing. Carabiners clip onto me and now the ground is falling away below me. Terrifying! My short life has taken an unforeseen turn!

Finally the disorienting hoisting halts. A new steel carabiner clips into my primary mounting point and a second back-up is clipped in. Though I don't know it at the moment, this perch 45 feet above the ground will be my new home and vantage point. Those startling first few moments fade as I come to know and love this home and the humans I get to share adventurous experiences with.

Life at 45 Feet

I lucked out and ended up living in one of the most beautiful spots you can imagine. I'm in a nice opening surrounded by trees, and there is a great view of rolling hills to the east. I've only been here a few days now, but already I love it! From my 45 foot vantage point I get to see amazing sunrises each day. The tower I live on is called an adventure tower and lots of humans come here every day. They play on the ropes course, climb trees, swing like monkeys, and then come see me for a final thrill.

Oh, how rude of me! I haven't even introduced myself yet. Hi, I'm QJ. I'm a QUICKjump free fall device mounted on this adventure tower 45 feet in the air. I give everyone a thrill with 13 feet of free fall before I catch and lower them. There is usually a hesitation before jumping, a scream on the way out, and smiles and laughs at the bottom. It's so much fun to watch!

A Day in the Life

A normal day starts with staffers arriving, conducting their morning meeting, and then dispersing to their posts. A staffer, usually Jordan or Ella, always gives me a daily inspection. My casing is looked over, my carabiner is inspected, my webbing is pulled out, and the entire length of webbing is inspected for damage or wear. After being looked over, I know I am ready to go for the day and can start to get excited for everyone I'll meet. Today it looks like a youth group is coming to the ropes course!

I watch as the kids navigate the ropes course, trying out the variety of challenging obstacles. I know they'll start arriving at the adventure tower soon, and am excited to give them a thrilling ride.

The first kid makes it to the top and is being given the jump orientation by staffer Ella. Once orientation is over, the kid is ready to clip in and jump. The kid clips in, smiles, takes a moment before jumping, and then launches. No fear from this one! Other kids below cheer, and they high-five when she reaches the ground.

One by one the rest of the kids climb the adventure tower stairs to us, and one by one they clip in. Many hesitate to jump and take a minute to leap. Others can't wait to jump into the air and scream their excitement. Now there is a young boy standing in front of me. Ella is coaxing him to step closer so he can clip in and go. His eyes widen as he looks over the edge. He says it looks too high and is she sure that “thing" will work? Ella tells him there is nothing to worry about and that he doesn't have to jump if he doesn't want to. He takes a deep breath. Everyone else is jumping so I want to jump too, he tells her. Clipped in he stands with his toes near the edge of the platform. He stands for the longest time on the edge. Finally, with determination in his eyes, he steps forward and into thin air.

Holding his breath so no scream can escape, he clutches my rip cord for his 13 feet of free fall. I catch him and gently lower him to the ground. His friends are waiting with cheers and more high-fives. He is already reliving the experience with them and asking for another jump.

This is my favorite part. I get to watch people face their fears and take a leap. Then I get to come to the rescue and softly catch them before slowly lowering them to the ground. By the time their feet are back on the ground they are all smiles and laughs from the exhilaration of the jump. It's a confidence booster, and I get to help them through it. I officially have the best job ever.

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