Montana Jones

Montana n: A state of the northwest United States bordering on Canada. Admitted as the 41st state in 1889. The fourth largest state in the union, it includes vast prairies and numerous majestic mountain ranges.
Syn: Treasure State, Big Sky Country, Last Best Place.

Jones n: slang. An addiction or very deep craving.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Jumping Montana

I really like skydiving in Montana. The Lost Prairie drop zone is beautiful and the people that jump there are some of the nicest skydivers I have met in the past 10 years.

As the plane climbs up out of the valley it is as though the world keeps getting bigger instead of smaller. The lush green hillsides start to share their secrets of hidden lakes and even more majestic mountains lurking in the distance. The airstrip sits in a beautiful valley. Wide, flat, open, plenty of good outs for jumpers, easy to spot from the air. That cold blast of air from opening the door at altitude has always been refreshingly clean to me. Here in Montana I think there is even a slight sweet taste to it.

Exiting the plane is crossing from one world to a new one. Where the view had previously been confined and framed by the glass of the window, I am now in a place where nature is unobstructed and even the corner of my eye can take in hearty mountains, billowy clouds, and lush rolling forests. Montana is helping me re-discover the joy of seeing a world I first discovered long ago when I began learning how to leave the airplane behind.

I am amply impressed with Montana jumpers. After only a few visits to the dropzone I am welcomed and called by name and invited on skydives. At the previous address I had become accustomed to a different atmosphere. The dropzone there was always bustling and busy. They had large clean airplanes with GPS spotting, an automated and computerized manifest system. All very efficient and impersonal. After eight years of jumping there not one employee knew my name. I was never invited to make skydives with others. I was not encouraged to learn or to come back. I got in the habit of not jumping very often. I would wait until my blood would grow restless from a lack of the ozone flavored air and begrudgingly haul myself off to this impersonal skydive factory to get my dose of freefall. Montana has welcomed me back to the sky in ways that I forgot existed.

I am pleased with jumping in Montana. My summer may not grant me much time for it, but I am happy re-discovering it in the now.

sounds like a rush!!! Now you're really making me itch for my first jump!
My first jump was at Lost Prairie. I don't think I ever want to jump any where else...where else could you find a better view?
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