Friday, July 09, 2010

Cliff Jumper, Continued

We have finally returned to the fabulous Shanhaiguan, home of cliff jumping. For those of you who don't know, Shanhaiguan is the spot where the Great Wall extends into the sea like a dragon's head. It also has many elevated sand dunes that keep the defensive part of the wall above the water. I can't really remember how it started (see Cliff Jumper), but here I cliff jump.

How to cliff jump...

As "professional" cliff jumpers, Dad and I like to use the highest, most dangerous cliffs. Basically, we climb a 20-25 foot high cliff, start 10 feet back, run toward a marker, and leap off into the abyss. It's thrilling! Of course, the impact hurts your legs after several hundred jumps, and the sand gets harder and harder...But it's worth it! From below, the cliffs don't seem so bad, but from the top all you see is some shrubs and the water in the distance. I just love it!


After the first jump, you have to clear all of the rocks out of the sand and dirt. Then you have to move any harmful plants. After that, you have to jump a few times and find the small point from which you jump. Otherwise, you can seriously injure yourself. You also have to be careful about jumping too far, so as not to hit the beach and maybe break your legs.

I also love the little conversations that I have with people at the top of the cliffs. When they first see you jump, they think you are injured or possibly dead, so they run over to investigate. When I climb back up, we start talking about where I am from, what I am doing in China, and so on. Every so often, a group will stick around and help me check if there are people at the bottom and whether it is same to jump.

No matter how many times I ask, no one other than Dad and me will do it. It's not really that scary...There is no falling or flying sensation...The only sensation is the small twang in your knees if you land wrong. I've only hurt myself once while jumping. I bent my knees too much on a landing and fell hard on my tailbone.

The only other dangerous thing that has happened was that I leaned forward too much and flipped over three times on the beach after my landing. Even that was fun! Cliff jumping really is amazing...You should try it sometime!



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