All caught up now? Wonderful.
Earlier this week, I returned to the scene of the climb, and against Denise's wishes I went alone.1 I planned to take photographs and more precise measurements of the spot. Yet, as I peered down into the gorge from the once-mossy precipice, I was struck by an overwhelming sense of vertigo. No, wait—not vertigo. What's the word... joy. I was overcome with an immense feeling of joy. As I pictured my rapid descent and miraculous survival in my mind's eye,2 I openly wept.
Then, I began the document process. As I've already hinted, the mossy precipice was no longer mossy. It was, however, even more precipitous than I remembered it being. Honestly, what was I thinking getting so close to the edge?3 Likewise, my escape route was much, much steeper than I recalled, and I have no idea how I made it out of the gorge without slipping back in once or twice.
I pulled out a ball of twine, and lowered a small weight into the gorge until it hit water. By measuring the string, I learned that I'd only plummeted 26 ft 8 in (not 30 ft, as previously estimated). Thus, I had only been in freefall for 1.3 seconds (not 1.4 s), and hit the water going 28 mph (not 30 mph). I also noticed that the gap I fell through is about 5 ft wide (not 3 ft). Clearly, these findings knock my survival down a notch in terms of miraculousness. But I'm not complaining.
Computer issues prevent me from sharing most of my photos until I return home from my vacation, but I'll leave you with one. Unlike last year, when my camera and lenses succumbed to a watery death before I reached the base of Bingham Falls, this year I was able to take some shots of the main attraction. I managed a few pics at varying shutter speeds before dozens of high schoolers in bathing suits descended upon the falls. This was only the first wave (click to embiggen):
A far, far better place to plummet than where I did.
Perched on a rocky ledge by the falls, I put my camera back in its bag and then, within seconds, I no longer had solid ground beneath my feet.
The water was cold, crisp, and invigorating. Submerged in that cold mountain stream, I felt an exhilaration I'd only experienced once before. This time, however, my camera was safely tucked away back on the ledge, and I had jumped, not fallen.
I was exactly where I wanted to be.
1 After all, she's not the boss of me. Not for another couple weeks.
2 My mind doesn't actually have an eye. It's an expression, people.
3 For the record, I believe it was: "Ooooh, waterfall. Preeeetty."