Travel: The Tamalie legacy 

Plunging with Whistler Bungee

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Then I walked out onto the platform to cast my eyes about the Cheakamus Canyon in search of some point of solace. But solace, like life, is hard to figure when it lies 160 feet below your toes. And so I was warned not to stand and soak up the fear for too long, lest my nerves collapse like a third world economy. Enter the five count.

I don’t really remember what happened. Pictures show me forming some sort of dive-like posture, presumably on five. I look scared and awkward, my hands made of wire, my knees trying to turn around in their sockets and bend my legs all the way home for a good cry in the shower. Nothing doing, so I jumped anyway because I’m cool like that.

Impossible to describe the pleasure of pure, electric panic. Weightless, a servant to gravity, mind bending like a noodle travelling via interstellar overdrive, arms flailing, seeing everything and nothing and then suddenly, gently, bouncing upwards again, ribs sticking out of my mouth as my heart tried to escape through the top of my head. And then peace, deep and lasting, my insides re-sculpted by the humble hands of conquered fear.

Stevenson next. Red hair dishevelled and face a portrait of uncertainty, he opted for a backwards leap. It’s an interesting strategy: On the one hand, you don’t have to stare into the canyon, don’t have to fathom the river wild and how your corpse might smash and burst off rock formations jutting above the surface; on the other hand, you have to jump backwards, which feels like closing your eyes while driving.

Despite his sometimes raging pansyism, Stevenson occasionally reveals a heavy sac full of atoms splitting in perpetuity. On his birthday, I poured water on his feet and watched him stagger drunkenly across a bed of hot coals in Upper Squamish Valley. Perched on the bridge in a state of full commitment, he let loose this war cry and hurled himself backwards, looking like he might over-rotate into a back flip. But he didn’t, not completely, just plunged downwards and bounced around like a sentient piñata.

“It was thrilling,” he said later. “It felt like the adrenaline rush I’d been looking for for a while, which I’d been missing for a bit. I feel like I already want more. It’s always a feeling of more. But that day I felt really humbled. There was a greater expanse in the universe than just myself. It put me in a euphoric kind of mood that day. It also kind of helped to have something good to eat and some sex afterwards.”

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