The Photo That Scares the Sh!t Out of Me

Life is inherently risky, and you can’t live without enduring some risk, no matter how careful you are. I tend to be fairly fearless about my adventures, since I am a believer in the maxim, “Go out on a limb; that’s where the fruit is.” But once in a while, I go too far, as I did in the autumn of 2002.

Note shelf of rock on the face of the slope
Note shelf of rock on the face of the slope

Abby and I got married at Delicate Arch in Arches National Park in eastern Utah in October 2004. It was my third visit to the arch; I had been in November 2002 and March 2004. In ’02, while Jamie and David sat in the sun enjoying the view of the arch, I crept around to the “far” side of it, the one that faces the adjacent canyon. There are two sandstone outcroppings there on the otherwise smooth slickrock that slopes steeper and steeper into the canyon. You can see them just below the arch in this fisheye photo I made that day.

Here’s why this photo, and the mere act of remembering taking it, scares the crap out of me. To shoot it, I had edged my way down the increasing slope of the canyon to this point…

The canyon falls away quite steeply below the arch
The canyon falls away quite steeply below the arch

When I think about it, I imagine that I was just one step away from death. One missed step.

There, but for the grace of friction, go I.

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  1. Wow. That photo now also scares the shit out of me as well. Dang. My heart rate increased just thinking about it. I’m intensly afraid of heights.

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