Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sunday, August 21, 2011

And That's When I Wet Myself

Two years ago yesterday, I survived The Great Plummet.

Which is to say, on August 20, 2009, I fell 30 ft to my death but didn't die.

Which is to say, I was hiking with my ex-fiancée Denise1 when I plunged 26 ft 8 in into a narrow chasm, but came out nearly unscathed.

Which is to say, I slipped off a mossy precipice about 100 ft upstream from Bingham Falls (pictured above) and into a gorge barely 5 ft wide, yet only suffered two minor scrapes and bruises. Nevertheless, my death (rather than my life) flashed before my eyes during my precipitous drop.

Which is to say, amidst my one and a half seconds of freefall I pictured myself dying in two and a half ways — cracking my head against the cavern wall opposite, breaking my neck as I landed, and shattering my legs and back to end up paralyzed.2

And that's when I wet myself.

Which is to say, I splashed down (much unlike a space shuttle) into water far deeper than I'd expected. I returned to the surface, but my poor, poor D took in too much water, and she drowned.

Which is to say, my Nikon D60 succumbed to the elements.3 I then swam 60 ft one-handed (my other hand heroically — and fruitlessly — trying to prolong the life of my camera) and climbed out of the gorge the only way possible: by hauling myself out, hand over hand, along the husk of a dead tree.

Which is to say, I climbed out of the gorge the only way possible: by hauling myself out, hand over hand, along the husk of a dead tree. After we celebrated my continued living at the nearby Ben & Jerry's factory, I knew I had to share the story of my amazing survival with the world.

Which is to say, one week later I started this blog.

And the rest is history.

1 She prefers I call her "my wife," but where's the fun in that?
2 No, I'm not trying to imply that losing the use of my legs is akin to dying. Yet, I would die a little inside, knowing I'd never again have the chance to run a marathon (never mind that I've never run more than 8 miles in one clip) or reign over the volleyball court as the "Lord O' Leaping" (never mind that I haven't played in over a year) or accidentally slip off a mossy precipice to my almost certain doom (never mind).
3 Or rather, it succumbed to one element. Then again, that one element is made up of two elements, so perhaps I was right right from the start.


  1. Camera equipment and water don't tend to mix. Glad you survived, though!

  2. too bad about the camera - good thing you made it tho, eh?

  3. What a story! I'm impressed you had the presence of mind to try to save the camera. I would have been blubbering and saying some sort of Hail Mary Catherine Gallagher. I hope you ate a vat of Chunky Monkey at least.

  4. Great story. Great writing. Great fall to fame!

  5., I get it! This is like a two-year anniversary post! Very clever. And if it's not an anniversary post, it's still clever...
    ...and sorry about your camera! Now that's tragic!

  6. Alex: Yeah, but I bet peanut butter and jelly got off to a rough start at first, too. It could work.

    mshatch, the camera may not have made it, but I was able to salvage the memory card, so all I lost was stuff. Not memories. (Oh yeah, and a tiny amount of skin.)

    julie, as a matter of fact, I was blubbering about how I was about to go over the falls (which I thought were but a short distance away at the time). And unfortunately, they kicked me out of the factory before I could get more than a couple mouthfuls of Chunky Monkey from the vat. Next time I won't be sopping wet, so it should be easier to sneak in.

    Mary, thanks! Though I'm not sure I've attained the fame just yet; I'll just keep entertaining you here in the hopes that riches come eventually.

    jb, aye, 'tis an anniversary post of sorts. And no worries about the camera; the memory card survived, and it gave me the perfect occasion to upgrade. The tragedy was the loss of my sunglasses; I haven't found another pair like them since.

  7. Wow, you were very lucky to have survived!
    Which is to say it was pretty much a miracle.
    Which is to say I would have probably passed out mid-flight (fall, plummet, plunge, etc.) and drowned, had I been in that position.
    Here's one to survival.

  8. A friend of mine dunked his camera in the bay while getting on the boat to leave on the last day in Fiji. His Nikon was only 6 months old...sniff.

  9. Zade, don't underestimate yourself. At the height, the entire drop takes 1.3 seconds, leaving little time to pass out mid-flight. You'd probably pass out pre-plummet. (And hey, thanks for the 1. I was very 42Nate.)

    Heather, ;P

    Chuck, your friend has me beat; my Nikon was already 9 months old. Of course, my upgrade is about to enter its terrible twos...