“There are two rules of thumb here. No. 1: There are no bad bucket-list wishes. No. 2: Everyone should have something on their bucket list,” says Webb Weiman, founder of the local nonprofit My Jump!, which works with seniors around the country (and, once, as far as India) to fulfill actionable dreams.
Since its inception in 2007, the organization has facilitated experiences such as big-wheel trucking, race car driving, and riding the Goodyear blimp for 30 participants. Weiman’s first client, Estelle Eisenberg (pictured above), jumped out of a plane on her 90th birthday. “The one common denominator,” he shares, “is the moment they land, or the moment they step out of a plane, a train, or a race car. To feel the gratitude in their hearts, to see the magic in their eyes, and really, to witness this transformation — it’s everything.”
If you don’t have a checklist of adventures you aspire to experience in your lifetime, you’re breaking one of Weiman’s cardinal rules. While climbing Mount Everest may require a new, life-altering fitness regime — and access — you don’t need to travel to the Himalayas to reach a peak. This new year, as the masses inevitably resolve to shed a few pounds, try a new diet, and save more money, we’re angling to tick a few items off that bucket list. Because, as Weiman points out, life is momentary, and no matter your age, you should reach for those big-ticket goals now.
“You’ve got to live every day,” he says. “Don’t assume that tomorrow will come. If the opportunity is there, go for it. If the opportunity isn’t there, then reach out to organizations like ours who can help make that dream come true.”
“It isn’t just the bucket-list wish for the person that’s the reward here. It’s the domino effect — that the inspiration spreads throughout the community, and other people just by [proxy] get hope.”Webb Weiman
Jump Out of a Plane
Suit up, strap in, and keep your eyes on the altimeter. Three skydiving centers within an hour-and-a-half’s drive of Palm Springs offer tandem jumps ($149 to $225): Skydive West Coast, Skydive Perris, and Skydive Elsinore.
The nonprofit, volunteer-run Magic Jungle Wildlife Preserve provides an 80-acre forever home in Lucerne Valley for six tamed big cats — including an endangered Florida panther, an Indochinese leopard, a black panther, and Siberian tigers — all retired from stage shows or rescued from zoos and lacking the instincts to survive if released. One- and two-hour guided tours of the High Desert sanctuary (starting at $200 per person with a minimum four guests, by reservation only) fund care for the animals and their habitats. The facility has recently opened two new enclosures and begun cons
Soak in the
In Desert Hot Springs, resorts tap into a natural aquifer that bubbles beneath the city’s surface to fill their sparkling pools with mineral-rich water. The first scientific analysis of the waters, in 1937, affirmed their therapeutic value. Enjoy a soak when you book a spa treatment at Two Bunch Palms, The Spring Resort & Spa, Miracle Springs Resort & Spa, or El Morocco Inn & Spa.
PHOTOGRAPH BY @BEARLEADERCHRONICLE
Participate in a Drum Circle
Commune with the innate rhythm of your soul at two monthly community drum circles in Palm Springs held last Fridays at Crystal Fantasy and on the night of the full moon at Ace Hotel & Swim Club (both are free).
Pitch a Tent
Venture beyond the borders of the Coachella Valley to experience nature and the night sky in its rawest form. Bring blankets, binoculars, and ingredients for s’mores and claim your campsite at Joshua Tree National Park (starting at $15 per night), Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park (starting at $20), Idyllwild Park ($25), or Mount San Jacinto State Park ($25) to detox from the daily grind.
Join a Pop-Up Dinner
Billed as “a secret under-
ground supper club,” PS Underground hosts multicourse community dinners at distinctive venues in and around Palm Springs. Locations and menus (focused on fresh, seasonal ingredients) are announced after you’ve made your reservation, and gatherings often feature entertainment (tickets on average range from $59 to $120).
Climb a Mountain
Where there is a valley to lounge in, there are mountains to climb. San Jacinto (at 10,833 feet) is accessible from the desert floor via the 8-mile Cactus to Clouds Trail, one of the steepest in the United States; you can also ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway up to a 5-mile trailhead, suitable for families (tram tickets range from $16.95 for kids to $25.95 for adults). Vivian Creek Trail, a steep 12-mile switchback north of San Jacinto, leads to the top of San Gorgonio (11,503 feet). Meanwhile, in neighboring Idyllwild, it’s a 3-mile trek along the South Ridge Trail to panoramic views atop Tahquitz Peak (8,846 feet).
Take a Spin on the Racetrack
At BMW Performance Center in Thermal, you can test your grit behind the wheel of an M Series for six hot laps ($299 for one hour) or opt to drive a Mini through track exercises in handling, braking, and autocross stunts ($499 for three-and-a-half hours).
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY BMW PERFORMANCE CENTER
Sleep in a Celeb’s House
Leonardo DiCaprio bought the lauded Dinah Shore Estate, aka 432 Hermosa, in 2014 — and you can spend the night (rates start at $3,750 with a two-night minimum). If you’d rather live it up like the Rat Pack, book Frank Sinatra’s former Palm Springs pad, the Twin Palms Estate, complete with a piano-shaped pool (rates start at $2,200).
Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
Get a bird’s-eye view of the Coachella Valley at sunrise. Bonus points if you fête the flight with a traditional champagne toast. Fantasy Balloon Flights and Balloons Above take off locally ($195 to $225, with per-person discounts available for groups).
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY MY JUMP!
Ride a Warplane
Palm Springs Air Museum provides flights in actual combat craft. Ride the C-47 Skytrain ($225 per seat with a minimum five passengers for a one-hour flight) or a P-51D Mustang ($1,895 for a one-hour flight; plane accommodates one passenger).
Kayak the Salton Sea
What one considers a wasteland, another calls Shangri-La. Take a kayaking adventure on the Salton Sea, California’s largest inland body of water and a sanctuary for migratory birds, and experience the natural beauty dotted with ruins of yacht clubs and beachfront communities. Salton Sea State Recreation Area on the north shore is a good place to start your otherworldly ride (park entry is $7; bring your own kayak). Though rentals are not available, Dick’s Sporting Goods at Westfield Palm Desert sells one- and two-seaters (prices range from $130 to $400).