Skydiving in Eloy, AZ

We just got back from a whirlwind trip to the Phoenix area in Arizona. David’s sister Pauline lives in Chandler, just south of Phoenix. Another sister, Margaret, just moved in a few blocks away. Three other Caraher siblings joined them last week for a mini family reunion. Three of the original 11 Caraher siblings have passed. Last week, five of the remaining eight siblings in the Caraher clan posed for a family photo on Pauline’s patio in Chandler, Az …

The Caraher’s, March 9, 2017, from l-r: David, Paul, Pauline, Margaret, Tom

Twenty years separate the youngest (Paul) from the oldest (Pauline). While we were taking photos a roadrunner zipped by on the golf path behind Pauline’s patio:

Roadrunner, run!

So what to do on a 3-day visit around Phoenix? Visit the new aquarium that opened last Labor Day weekend up in Scottsdale? Uh, maybe find something closer…

How about a morning hike up South Mountain! We hit the trail mid-morning:

David and Pauline

The landscape offers an abundance of phallic symbols with no possibility of shade.

A few plants were in bloom. It’s either too early or too dry for the cacti to bloom? Some were starting to …

Our eyes are watching you

Or maybe they just opened a pair of eyes to keep a watch on passing tourists.

David’s older brother Tom suggested the best idea for how to spend our day – drive 40 miles south to Eloy, Arizona and watch the skydivers! I have to say, watching others jump out of planes at 13,000 feet and skydiving to the ground sounds much more fun to me than jumping out of a plane myself.

We have arrived at the Eloy airport singing “Eloy’s a-comin’! (a la Three Dog Night) Well, you better hide your heart, your loving heart …

As soon as I get out of the car I’m captivated immediately by skydivers dropping from the sky.

I took a photo…

Okay so photos really don’t capture it. I took a video.

Skydivers are dropping like down from a giant May tree.

Hold off on taking video, Jody. There’s a viewing area right by the landing field! David says.

Entering the park now…

Entering the viewing area, Paul and Margaret ahead

There’s no entrance fee. Bleachers are set up for spectators right alongside the skydivers’ landing field. Are you ready for some close up video? Now you can live the skydiving spectator experience right alongside me. Turn up your sound for my videos!

We are barely settled when a group of skydivers comes flying in … one right after the other. Here we go…

Each skydiver has to collect his parachute quickly and get off the field!

There’s at least two planes in the air and another taking off.

You watch the plane till it goes out of sight, then look way up and see one hovering way high. But you can’t see the skydivers till their parachutes have opened up. They jump out in groups of six and land, one behind the other. They are all obviously seasoned experienced jumpers, evidenced by their ability to glean every airborne moment out of the experience as they gracefully land:

You can hear the friction in the air as they sail past you, parallel to the ground.

Some skydivers drop so fast you wonder how they avoid a hard collision with the earth…

Meanwhile, another plane takes off

While another flatbed trailer load of skydivers heads to the tarmac…

Here you see a photo of tandem skydiving, for novices.

Tandem skydiving

You know, for any ordinary Joe Blow who would like to jump out of a plane, you can hook on to the back of a professional and fly tandem. David was off investigating this experience as soon as we arrived. He seriously wanted to jump out of a plane today, having already done a solo jump here in Idaho Falls for his 30th birthday, uh, how many years ago was that??? Why not today?!! … Because, he found out, the process would take up to 4-6 hours, given the waiting list and training required.

Me? This video explains it all:

That’s me talking with Paul, with Megan’s and my very brave shadows at the end…

Here’s one last video I took

It marvels me how they avoid landing collisions.

So after the parachuters run off the landing field they head to this shelter about 100 feet away to fold and repack their parachutes. I took a photo.

Hey, what’s one more video?…

I posed a question to one buff, young, bearded jumper who had just repacked his parachute: How many times have you skydived? His answer: You mean today or in my lifetime? Lifetime, I said. Uh, about 6,000…

Anyway, if you visit the Phoenix area in Arizona you might want to check out the skydiving at Eloy. Of course, just a walk around the neighborhood where you are visiting, is fun too. We took a walk in Pauline’s neighborhood, the Sun Lakes retirement community. The front yards are great – laid with rock, landscaped with native plants and cacti.

Birds peck out space for their nests in the saguaro cacti.

Got your eye on me, do you?

Why do I always get the feeling that nature is watching me?

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