Thursday, September 12, 2013

Into each life some rain must fall

My cyberfriend David Barlow of Ephraim, Utah, -- Putz to you -- had a scary experience on Labor Day weekend when several members of his family went hiking in Little Wild Horse slot canyon.

Slot canyons can be dangerous places, especially when rains cause sudden severe flooding, because there’s no way to escape the water. For example, in Antelope Canyon, Arizona, eleven tourists were killed in 1997 by a flash flood; and in 2008 a couple drowned in Utah despite wearing wet suits.

When Putz’s family were caught in a flash flood in Little Wild Horse slot canyon on Labor Day weekend, they lived to tell about it.

Here are Putz’s own words from his blog, in his own inimitable style:

“my family went on the memorial day [sic] holiday to wild horse slot canyon in goblin valley utah>><>me, my wife karma, tony and his wife, and their kids braydo. owie and hannah with 2 h’s to n’s and two a’s and dan on whos blog you will find all the pictures of this horrific event <><>it was an eight mile hike><>i made it to the beginning of the slot canyons 3 miles and decided to wait>><>well i was happy to talk to all going up and asked all where they traveled from>><>well we had barely fifteen minutes of light rain, so i went and stood in the wash to escape the wetness and i hear this loud noise<><>i had no idea what it was <><>><>was this comming from the center of the earth?? no<><>as i backed away the water 6 feet tall came through the rock so i stepped out of the wash and watched a river being created<><>the two nice single girls asked where my party was><<>I HAD NO IDEA,.,.they decided to wait with me until i knew for sure the fate of my party<><>offered me a beer to calm my nerves ><><>well they tried to talk about trivial things because they were sure i had just LOST my wife in a slot canyon drowning accident<><>4 hours later my party plus two extra children appeared, a four year old and a 6 year old being caarried out by my son and my daughter in law and thre grand kids walking on their own appeared and recounted the stories of having water splash down in gummlets, i mean gimlets and filling up the slot canyon as they ran in the two feet of water screaming to the end with water increasing as they ran<><>i found out that the two kids who were extra were giving their parents a break {one of them had the hand of her father, but he lost the grip when he himself fell in the torrents<>><><>in fact all said they never had so much fun in their life<><>i wonder why danger is also fun< but they said it was,.,.I ACTUALLY HAD FUN ALSO TALKING TO EVERYONE , about 40 people going up and back about their adventures and helping them over the slick rocks.,>”

Here is a post from Putz’s son Daniel’s blog that includes several still photographs and a seven-minute video of Putz’s sons and grandsons sloshing through the canyon and escaping with their lives (7:34).

A few days later, when it had time to sink in, Putz posted again:

“1--//////////////'''SURVIVED________________________________________________________________________________________________A LOST SLOT CANYON FLASH FLOOD________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________MY SIXTY NINE YEAR OLD WIFE SURVIVED A WILD HORSE SLOT CANYON FLASH FLOOD------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------MY 10 YEAR OLD GRANDSON SURVIVED A RAIN INDUCED FLASH FLOOD___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________my SEVEN YEAR OLD GRANDAUGHTTER AND HER MOTHER FOUGHT THE ELEMENTS IN A WILD HORSE SLOT FLOOD FLASH_____________________________________________________________________________________________________MY OLD 30"S AND 40" BOYS SURVIVED GALENTLEY A SLOT CANYON FLASH FLOOD____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________we are all living to tell about it”

What a grand re-entry into blogworld Putz has had after an absence of several months! Scary, yes, but grand nonetheless.

Just reading Putz (admittedly an acquired taste) is a grand adventure in itself. I’m glad he's back, and especially that all of his family are safe.


  1. That slot canyon looks amazing. I think it would be marvellous to walk there - in guaranteed dry weather of course! Don't you just love Mr Barlow-Putz's style of writing? Very idiosyncratic and in this account it seemed to add extra energy and immediacy to what could have been a tragic tale. Fortunately, it had a happy ending.

  2. Yes, Putz is an adventure in himself, one I enjoy very much. And this post gives a glimpse of that inimitable style. It's a nice post to write for a cyber friend.

  3. This looks a truly beautiful place. Like a cave system with light.
    It doesn't take much rain where you are to flood. It is oft times raining somewhere else.
    Glad it turned out for the best.

  4. I appreciate all your comments, Y.P. and All Consuming and Carol in Cairns, but I must have a word just now with Adrian, who is a bit geographically challenged. Adrian, England (not including Scotland or Wales, which Lord Pudding doesn't like to do in the first place) is about the same size as our state of Alabama. Utah is not a hop, skip, and jump away from Georgia as your comment seems to imply. One cannot just "pop over to Putz's house" of an afternoon for tea. No, sir, it is almost two thousand (2,000) miles from my place in Canton, GA, to Putz's place in Ephraim, UT, so any talk of "It doesn't take much rain where you are to flood" is off the mark by a great deal. To recap, the flood was in a canyon in Utah; I am in Georgia. We are not neighbors and our weather is quite different. It's rather like thinking New York City is close to San Francisco.

  5. It was certainly an interesting read. I'm wondering it there is a moral? Maybe survival can be both scary and fun?

  6. How absolutely terrifying. With a happy ending. Thank you.

  7. May I apologise for the geographical narrow-mindedness of my compatriot - Sir Adrian Peabrain. He's a nice chap really but now he is weeping behind the school bikesheds because of your public remonstration. After all, it's not his fault that America is so damned big!