Gathering at Placerita Canyon Hiking Trailhead for Zion National Park Flash Flood Victims

Zion NP, Flash flood, victim, canyoneers, placerita canyon trailhead, bandana, writing, memorial service, tribute,

It was a seriously hot day, hovering 104F degrees in Valencia. The weather gets at least 10-15 degrees hotter there than the towns by the ocean. But it didn’t stop VHC hikers from gathering for a cause. People got together at the Placerita Canyon Hiking Trailhead to pay respect for those who fell victim in the flash flooding in Zion National Park.

Keyhole-Canyoneers-9_small_1 Self-portrait of the group standing before the first rappel of Keyhole Canyon on Monday, September 14, 2015. Photographed from left to right: Gary Favela, Don Teichner, Muku Reynolds, Steve Arthur, Linda Arthur, Robin Brum, and Mark MacKenzie. Courtesy of Zion National Park Service

If you already haven’t heard about this tragedy, the chances are that either you do not hike with any SoCal hiking groups or you do not have friends who live and hike in SoCal. And I have never hiked with this particular hiking group called Valencia Hiking Club (VHC) either, so I’d understand if you have never heard of it either.

But many of my hiking friends know some of these victims, and by the time when the Zion National Park released this tragic news last Tuesday afternoon, my Facebook timeline was flooded with tributes for those who fell victim in such a unfortunate natural disaster.

You can read this ill-fated adventure of these 7 canyoneers either on the Zion NP Service statement or LA Times.

Or you can watch the report from Good4Utah.

How the story unfolded was quite gripping, and it’ll leave you rather speechless. Rest in peace.

la-zion-flash-flood-images-web-images-005 Courtesy of LA Times

I personally didn’t know any of the victims, so it could’ve been another unfortunate victim news that we come across once in a while. But this time it was different. My hiking friends from San Jacinto Hiking Club (SJHC) knew some of these hikers, so it was quite personal to them. They shared old photos of them hiking together on Facebook timeline.

Zion NP, Flash flood, victim, canyoneers, placerita canyon trailhead

Frankly, it was quite impressive how many people actually turned up to pay respect. The bandanna hanging idea was excellent and very touching.

Zion NP, Flash flood, victim, canyoneers, placerita canyon trailhead, bandana, writing, memorial service, tribute, How the bandannas were hanging was so touching and memorable

When Kathryn, organizer of SJHC, forwarded the email that she got from one of the VHC organizers, I thought it was quite admirable how quickly they put together a gathering, including the hanging bandanna idea.

It was beautifully executed in spite of the hot weather. Also, there was so much food that everyone brought and shared with one another.

Zion NP, Flash flood, victim, canyoneers, placerita canyon trailhead, bandana, writing, memorial service, tribute,

Zion NP, Flash flood, victim, canyoneers, placerita canyon trailhead, bandana, writing, memorial service, tribute,

It was truly magical that people came together for one simple cause – showing respect.

Zion NP, Flash flood, victim, canyoneers, placerita canyon trailhead, bandana, writing, memorial service, tribute,

The Sheriffs were cooperative and the boy scouts were very helpful. It was quite enjoyable in spite of having so many people gathered.

Zion NP, Flash flood, victim, canyoneers, placerita canyon trailhead, bandana, writing, memorial service, tribute,

Even though I didn’t know almost everyone at the gathering, except for a couple of old friends and a few whom I got to talk to, I felt that there was one thing in common – love for nature.

This tragedy confirms my belief again that life is short and fragile. It is a fresh reminder at someone else’s expense, but regardless, it is important to remember that our stay on this precious planet is quite limited and that the clock is ticking.

Ask yourself.

What did you do today to make your time on this planet worthwhile.

Thanks for reading.

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About H Peter Ji Photography

I am a photographer. My photos have been sold on EyeEm, Adobe Stock and ShutterStock and also featured on ViewBug and G+ Landscape Photography Community, and via Death Valley National Park Instagram and Facebook. My work is the natural byproduct of my love for outdoors - backpacking, hiking and camping in nature.

5 responses to “Gathering at Placerita Canyon Hiking Trailhead for Zion National Park Flash Flood Victims”

  1. naturalred says :

    I also love the bandannas…..I wish we would have known and lived closer I would have loved to pay my respects along with everyone else.

    Like

    • @ScorpioOnSUP says :

      Thank you for your thoughts. It was quite amazing to see how quickly the gathering was put together, people came together and such a beautiful thing happened. For me it was a good reminder that life is extremely fragile and awfully short. I’ll make sure that I will do everything in my power not to regret anything of my actions and decisions when such a tragic moment arrives and life flashes just before my eyes… Thanks you for stopping by 🙂

      Like

  2. Majka says :

    Sad story but great compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • InherentlyAdventurous says :

      Yes. I don’t know or can’t speak for hikers in other parts of the country or world, but here in SoCal, there are so many hiking Meetup (meetup.com) groups and they are quite active. And many of us who belong to one group are very likely to hike with other hikers in other groups, and we also find ourselves on numerous Facebook hiking groups as well. It is quite an interesting dynamic, and when such a tragedy strikes, because we are friends of the victims, or friends of friends of the victims, we end up with what this small and yet big hiking community shares. Six degrees of separation becomes like three. One of those names you hear often while hiking on the trails and finds them on Facebook through mutual friends or on of those faces you see on either Meetup group pages or Facebook pages eventually comes across on the trail. So, I figured it was a great way to pay respect for those who I never came to know, but many of them were friends of my friends. Life is too short to be an outsider. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Majka says :

        I fully agree. Thank you very much for your explanation. I am not a hiker, though I like walks and nature. Have a great day and take care 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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