skydiving // slack lining // rock climbing // base jumping
When Andy first started posting about his big all-day multi-sport birthday party plans, Callen and I were super bummed that we'd be getting to Moab late in the day and would miss most of the activities because we were planning on hiking Half Dome in Yosemite the day before, but after talking about it and realizing we both really wanted to be in Moab all day for the party, we decided to ditch Half Dome and offer to shoot photo and video of the day as our birthday present to Andy.
We made sure he was psyched on it (he was) and then quickly packed up and headed to Moab, driving late in to the night and arriving the evening before his birthday ready to meet at the Dropzone in the morning for the first event of the day - a tracking skydive! He got 12 friends together to jump out of three separate Cessna 182's (all flew in formation near each other for exit - so cool!!) and track together through the sky before he pulled dirty low around 800 feet. It was nerve-wracking from the ground! After that, Callen and I hopped in with Andy to head out to one of his favorite high-lines just outside of town. It was amazingly quiet and peaceful as we dangled our legs over the cliff to take some footage of him walking back and forth. A few of his friends came out as we were wrapping up and one of them walked the line while Andy and Callen decided to add another sport to the day - rappelling! They rapped the 180 foot cliff and hiked out within minutes and before we knew it, we were packed up and heading to Potash Road for some climbing! Out there we met more friends and Andy led one sport route and one trad route (as per his personal birthday guidelines) while friends climbed nearby. It was already such a fun day and we were just getting started! Once everyone sent a few fun routes, we headed to his new(ish...to him) house to chill out on the space nets and relax before their grand finale sport of the day, a skydiving/BASE jumping event out at one of their favorite BASE exits in Moab. As we gathered in the parking lot (landing zone) with other onlookers, anticipation grew when we heard the jump plane flying overhead. It dropped three skydivers around 8,000 feet AGL and they all pulled their parachutes up high so they could enjoy the scenic ride down. When the skydivers neared the feature where the BASE jumpers were waiting to exit, they began to do dramatic turns and eventually swooped right past the BASE jumpers as they lept off the cliff and all flew down together. It was honestly one of the coolest things I've ever seen! It blows my mind thinking about the talent and creativity out here. I could re-live that moment over and over and never get tired of it. Fittingly, they all posed for a photo with the BLM ranger who was present for the jump before heading to some private land to celebrate with fireworks.
The entire day just felt like a dream to us. One of the reasons we love Moab is because we love being around people who are really loving living life. Multiple times throughout the day, Andy would comment on how happy he was, how lucky he feels, and how thankful he is to be living a life he loves. We were so inspired to see that in all of his sports and in his friends that join in on celebrating him. It was encouraging to see so many people doing amazing things and seeing the skill level they were jumping/walking/climbing at. We found ourselves looking at eachother and saying "this is why we came here, this is why we love this place." Needless to say, it was a pretty amazing first day in Moab. Happy birthday Andy!!!