“I fly because it releases my mind from the tyranny of petty things”-Antoine de Saint Exupery
As my days in Maui dwindle, the need for the daring exists. After all, if you are going to say goodbye why not do it with class? That is why I contacted Proflyght Paragliding to take me to the next level of a natural high.
We’re going to do what?
After several calls to the company and speaking to Dexter to get the necessary information, I finally made up my mind that I would do it. The choices were, a three thousand foot drop that lasted twelve minutes or a 1000 feet for three minutes. I choose the latter since I wasn’t sure what to expect. Proflyght Paragliding offers solo or tandem instruction. The certified instructors are part of the U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association. Last year I took a glider flight (Free Falling, 11/30/12) that gave a sense of peace and adventure. This time I would be in an open environment like that of a bird.
Take me away
In Waipoli Flight Park on the slopes of Mt. Haleakala the sky opened to the beauty of the sun while the wind kissed my cheeks for good luck. While I waited on my instructor Dexter, I watched while other team members packed their gear offering information regarding the Kevlar material that would allow me to soar.
I couldn’t wait, feeling slightly apprehensive and yet ready to take the leap to wonderland. Finally the white van pulled up and Dexter introduced himself. Soft spoken and efficient, I signed the necessary papers to release him from any liabilities as I take responsibility for my need for a natural high. We load into the van with one of his assistants and make the winding drive uphill to the jumping off point.
As he pulls the chute out and prepares it for take off, I look towards the West Maui mountains and the ocean below. I think of the great adventures that I dared to do against all my friends saying, “Are you crazy?” Yes, I am crazy, crazy for life and all that it has to offer. Dexter calls to me and it’s time to strap in.
I’m harnessed first and given instructions. “You will feel the wind tug on the canopy, just stay upright. When I tell you to walk, do so until I say run and then I want you to run as fast as you can.” Ok, I thought, run like my life depended on it and I think it does. He straps himself in behind me and we wait patiently for the wind to return and when it does he tells me to walk. My heart begins to pick up pace and then he says, “Run” and I do with all my might. Then, it happens…
My feet are kicking like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz when the flying monkeys take her away. All of a sudden, uncontrollable laughter comes from deep inside and I realize I’m flying! It is the most incredible, fascinating sensation a person could ever have. The freedom of not being enclosed, arms waving, feet moving and the air traveling against your skin, is the ultimate high. It’s like the first time you find yourself in love; reeling, gushing and full of energy.
The flight lasted six minutes, three minutes more than predicted due to wind conditions. As we get close to landing, he instructs me to “walk” in the air. Shortly, my feet are in motion on the ground and our bodies remain upright, a perfect landing.
I have relived this event many times in mind and still gush with delight. Proflyght Paragliding provides the greatest high with joy and finesse. Should I ever return to Maui I would do it all again, flying higher than a gate and loving every minute of it.