Ten years ago, Betty Stough never would have considered going skydiving.
But at age 80, Stough decided to give it a try while visiting her daughter in Washington state two weeks ago.
"It was awesome," said Stough, of Windsor Township. "I wasn't even nervous, which really surprised me."
She uses a walker to get around. When she tells people she went tandem skydiving, "they think I lost my mind," Stough said.
The adventure began when Stough went to visit her daughter, Jody, and Jody's husband in Shelton, Wash.
The couple went skydiving soon after Stough arrived. She declined their invitation to join them, but when they returned and showed her the video of their experience, she was jealous and wanted to do
The instructors at Skydive Kapowsin assured her that her physical limitations wouldn't be a problem. All she needed to be able to do was lift her feet up for the landing.
Stough, who has had both knees replaced and had back surgery in the past few years, was fitted with a harness and walked to the plane using her walker.
Her daughter and another person made tandem jumps from the small plane Stough was in.
Since there are no seats in the plane, she just sat on the floor by the door.
"They just scoot you front and then you go," Stough said.
Clear skies: The skies were clear of wildfire smoke the day Stough jumped, so she could see Mount Rainier, Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens when she jumped.
"I was amazed at how quiet it was and how you could see everything," she said.
Once the instructor she was tandem jumping with pulled the large parachute, they could hear each other well enough to have a conversation.
She was concerned about landing, because she needed something to hold onto to pull herself up, but the instructor told her not to worry.
Indeed, there were plenty of people rushing to help her. They even took her walker -- affectionately dubbed
"You don't even feel the landing," she said.
When she watches the video of herself, she says she didn't smile enough. But even when she wasn't smiling, the wind was still pushing her cheeks up.
Stough would love to skydive again on her next visit to her daughter in Washington, because the views there are so spectacular.
And her advice to others: "Just go ahead and do it."
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Places to skydive locally
---Chambersburg Skydive, 3506 Airport Road, Chambersburg, 800-526-3497 or www.skydivingcenter.net.
---Maytown Sport Parachute Club, 188 Airport Road, Marietta, 653-0422 or www.maytownparachute.bizland.com.
---Skydiving Baltimore MD, 1-800-617-7948 or www.skydivingbaltimoremd.com.
---Skydive Ocean City, 12724 Airport Road, Berlin, Md., (410) 213-1319 or www.skydiveoc.com.
---Skydiving.com in Littlestown and other locations, 800-617-7948 or www.skydiving.com.