Parasailing at Lake George (1997)

I spend a weekend at Lake George (NY) for a Nozzi family gathering. I am impressed by how mountainous it is around the lake, how thick the forests are that surround it , and how clear and cold the water is. Cabins and condos and expensive homes surround the lake.

For the first time ever, I go "paratubing" (a neologism I coin to describe being pulled in an inner tube behind my brother's speeding motorboat). It is intense and somewhat terrifying. My father videotapes it, and when I encourage him to try it, he tells me it is exciting enough just to watch. For a week afterward, my forearms and chin are sore from the heavy pounding you take as the tube bounces high off the water. Twice, the tube flips in the water as it speeds through sharp changes in direction. My brothers and sisters tell me there is a big grin on my face the entire time. I tell them that I am screaming about half the time.

Also a first: Parasailing. Over Lake George. Very safe and easy (so much so that they do not even give you a waiver to sign, or any sort of instruction). I tell my brothers and sisters that they should do it so they will get an idea of how blissful skydiving is. Two of us are taken out to parasail on a flat barge-like boat which they use for both lift-off and landing (see photo above). The other guy goes first. Just before he lands, they strap me into a harness with a parachute attached behind. When he lands, they moved me into position near the front of the "barge", and hook my harness up to the nylon rope from the speedboat in front of the barge. So less than 2 minutes after the first guy lands, the speedboat is lifting me into the sky to an ultimate height of 225 feet where I have 20 minutes worth of great views of the lake, the mountains, and the village (I'm the ant in the photo below). Just before lift-off, one of the parasail staffers shouts to me the only instructions I'm given: "You can adjust yourself in the harness for comfort!" Once up at maximum height, I slip down in the harness so that I am no longer in a sitting position-which is somewhat less comfortable than sitting. I grab the straps holding the parachute and try to pull myself up and slide back into the harness, but this maneuver fails to succeed. I decide it is prudent not to risk trying to more aggressively slid back since I do not know if it would cause me to fall out of the harness. Twice, the parachute jerks strongly due to the wind and the turning speedboat, and I am sure I will come crashing down into the water. My only thought is that it would hurt like hell to hit that water way down below me.

Nevertheless, I survive the terror and am eager to do it again. 

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