While she may be up in years, 84-year-old Clairee Meeks of Dungeness area prefers to go even higher in altitude.
Six times now the retired travel agent has jumped from a plane at around 13,000 feet.
Her most recent jump brought three generations together including her daughter Darcy Lamb and grandson Connor Lamb on Aug. 25 in and over Shelton.
“I don’t get nervous,” Meeks said.
“I wasn’t afraid the first time or the last. This time I could hear my daughter laughing all the way down. She was having a great time.”
Meeks, an Edmonton, Alberta-native, transplanted to Sequim in 1972 and has always had thrill-seeking in her blood.
“I’ve always loved roller coasters — the rough rides,” she said.
“I don’t go on those anymore. My stomach is not as good as it used to be.”
But jumping from a plane is no problem, she says.
“It’s not physically taxing to skydive,” Meeks said. “That’s why I have the guy I’m tied to. He does all the work.”
Skydiving was always a bucket list item for Meeks but she’s honored her late husband Tommy Jo Meeks’ request not to do it. Meeks was “green with envy” of her son Jeff who was a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, she said.
“It was just something I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.
In 2012 at age 79, Meeks jumped at the chance as Olympic Cellars’ owners offered skydiving from the Sequim Valley Airport to their property and now making a jump is an annual tradition.
“I want to keep doing it as long as I’m able,” Meeks said.
Meeks’ daughter, Lamb, made her second ever jump in August who said she loves roller coasters like her mom too.
This time, they petitioned Skydive Kapowsin of Shelton to allow Meeks’ grandson, Connor, a junior at Sequim High School, to jump as well.
“I figured it’s because they’re not sure how long I’ll be around,” Meeks joked.
But in relatively good health, Meeks is giddy talking about her years of skydiving.
“You freefall for about one minute and the whole trip lasts about seven to eight minutes,” she said.
“It’s very exhilarating. The first time I jumped in Shelton, I could see all of the Hood Canal and on the other side I saw Mount Rainier. It was just stupendous.”
Lamb says her mom is an inspiration to people of all ages.
“She’s always wanting to learn,” Lamb said. “She’s an avid reader, a gourmet cook, she makes wedding cakes and she’s so full of life. People her age talk about aches and pains, but she’s not like that. She’s just an amazing person.”
Meeks said skydiving more than once a year is a little out of her budget and a little far to travel to Shelton more often, but her grandson Connor seems to have the skydiving bug now.
“He inquired about lessons and maybe I’ll go with him,” she said.
However, Meeks isn’t averse to freefalling strapped to an experienced skydiver.
“You get to look around and just enjoy yourself,” she said.
While her next jump may be a year away, Meeks is also an avid traveler and looking to go on a cruise up Norway’s coast in the future.
She also wants to encourage others her age that being a senior shouldn’t be a deterrent to jumping.
“I always thought that if someone can do it then I can do it too,” Meeks said.