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Since I was very young I've had dreams that I could fly.  A part of me thought that I had reached my dream of "flying" by becoming a highline walker. Then I moved to Moab, Utah and became surrounded by BASE Jumpers, Skydivers, and Paragliders. 

I hear stories of their flights daily and often get the opportunity to watch them. It's unbelievable what is possible in the realm of human flight and I truly can't believe what these people are doing on a regular basis here in the desert. Watching someone jump off of a 400-foot cliff is indescribable. It gives me goose bumps every time and I can't help but close my eyes and imagine that it's me. 

On my birthday, July 23rd, I was presented with a gift from my boyfriend Mark, a Skydiver, BASE Jumper and Wingsuit flier himself. That gift was a Tandem BASE Jump with Moab BASE Adventures, a company recently launched by Mario Richard: a longtime Skydiver, BASE Jumper and Wingsuit Flier.  When I was told that I would be jumping off of a cliff for my birthday, my heart just about jumped out of my chest. Despite my consistent flying dreams and ability to walk across highlines, I am quite scared of jumping off of things (cliff's into the water, rope jumps, etc). My nerves started days before the actual jump and I had to pretend it wasn't happening so that I wouldn't go completely crazy in my head. 

The day came and it was an early morning mission. Up at 5am to meet Mario. Myself, Mark and Mario drove out into the desert where the highest cliffs are located. My heart was racing. The hike to the edge was about 15 minutes and upon arrival, Mario began to go over the process of the jump. We did practice "launches" to be sure that it went smoothly. Mario was so knowledgeable and comforting that I trusted him completely and knew that I was safe. I was so impressed by his passion for flying; he was so excited about the whole thing and I could feel that. 

It was finally time to step to the edge. I was all harnessed up and Mario clipped us together. It was up to me now; all I needed to do was give a thumbs-up and the count down would begin. I took 15 seconds to breathe and surrender to what was about to happen. I chose to pretend that the whole thing was just a dream and therefore there was no reason to be scared. I gave the thumbs up, the countdown began: 3, 2, 1 and JUMP.....

I will never forget the feeling of falling SO fast, air rushing past my ears and the horizon quickly moving upwards. About 2 seconds of free fall and the parachute was open. The scary part was over and now we were flying! Past the red cliffs of the desert! I couldn't help but laugh. I was overcome with joy; this was flying! 

I am now working towards flying on my own. I'm saving up to get my Skydiving License so that I can jump whenever I want and perhaps someday, BASE Jump. 

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About Chaco Ambassador Emily Sukiennik: A competitive athlete, Emily challenges herself by walking across a one-inch wide piece of webbing suspended high above the ground. She's looking to surpass the women's world highline record and gain attention for her sport. Read more about Emily at www.emilysukiennik.com.

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