My car swirled early-spring dust as I pulled into Skydive the Ranch’s unpaved lot. The Ranch is surprisingly close to Gardiner’s town center for a place that is constantly launching planes. The layout mostly consists of a single building—an airplane hanger/equipment hub/chillage center that looms by the side of a giant plain.
All the instructors I met at Skydive were extraordinarily laid-back & friendly. I had only vaguely set up the shoot, but everyone there accommodated me with with Cali-quality smiles. It was early in the season, so there were only two paying jumpers, a traveling Portuguese couple in their 50s.
But the runway got its use anyway. The instructors were constantly hopping the propellor plane for jumps of their own. It was rare to see people who enjoyed their job this much—like seeing Walmart employees re-stocking shelves during their breaks, y’know, just for the hell of it.
I could never see anyone there working at a Walmart.
Special Thanks to Brian Moon for the providing the equipment expertise, and Mike Hollis for getting me an in.