Dropping off the face of the Earth

Short Story: 1100 Mile Two-Day Drive to Death Valley, 1 picture.

My spot on the desert floor

It was supposed to be a two-day photo workshop + a week shooting for my new book project. Instead it turns into a 40’+ fall off a cliff around midnight. I awake to find myself lying in a heap next to rocks and bushes. The last thing I remembered was sleeping in my truck. A bic Lighter in my pocket and creosote bush mix nicly to keep me warm. 4:00am blindly stumble down the desert wash to a place where I can re-climb hill back to road & truck. Next morning med.checked by ranger. Met client and with huge disappiontment, busted wrist & ribs, forced to cancel and return drive to Bay Area.

Today is my first day home from the hospital after being treated and observed for a subdural hematoma. Typing with cast is a pain.

All I can say is that I’m very lucky. I could have easily found myself at the bottom in a situtation much physically worse than where I am now.

I’m glad to be home. More to come as I’m able and consciousness allows.

Photo caption: The spot showing the half burned bush that kept me warm for hours through the cold desert night. Somewhere near there are my glasses. Sorry the photo looks blurry, but it was hard taking a picture the next morning holding a D2x with a busted wrist – but I had to get a picture, just so I can remember…

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21 Comments on “Dropping off the face of the Earth”

  1. Guy Says:

    Yikes! Glad you’re OK, Gary.


  2. Lon Says:

    Holy cr*p Gary! Like Guy, I’m glad you’re ok and it wasn’t any more serious.

    And you stood on the same precarious cliff again because…..?


  3. G Dan Mitchell Says:

    Wow, what an awful thing to have happen! Being in such places a lot myself, I can understand how quickly and unexpectedly everything can change. Considering what _could_ have happened, I suppose it is good to be grateful for _this_ outcome.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery!


  4. Scott Says:

    Yee-ouch! Best wishes for a fast recovery.

  5. Carl D Says:

    Hey Gary,

    Just be glad you awoke, bruh.

    Welcome back to the awake, and be careful out there, OK?



  6. Enrique Aguirre Says:

    Scary, really scary. I’m glad you made it out OK.

    Take care,


  7. Richard Wong Says:

    Geez Gary that is a scary thing to happen! What were you doing on the cliff at midnight? I hope you will be okay in the long run.

  8. Jim Goldstein Says:

    I’m glad you’re OK. Sounds like a horrifying experience. I hope you make a quick recovery. It sounds like things could have turned out far worse. Hopefully over time you’ll remember exactly how you ended up falling. I’m just glad to hear you didn’t sustain more serious injuries.

  9. Peter T. Says:


    Thank God that you’re still alive. I’m glad that you didn’t suffer more serious injuries.

    Best wishes to you and your family for a speedy and full recovery from your injuries.

    (A good reminder for everyone to be careful out there.)

  10. cory Says:

    wow, glad everything turned out okay and you DID wake up. Good thing for the lighter. It always amazes me how things can be going along just fine and the next second, very bad. Here’s to a speedy recovery and landing on your feet! 🙂

  11. Brandon Says:

    I hope you feel a lot better


    P.S. (hope you feel better so you can probably take me to the shooting range.)

  12. Bridalveil Fall After A Snow Storm, Yosemite National Park | JMG-Galleries - Jim M. Goldstein Photography: travel, landscape, and nature pictures - stock photos and fine art prints Says:

    […] himself and narrowly avoiding death. If you have a chance check out his blog’s recent entry, Dropping off the face of the Earth,  where he gives some background to recent events and wish him well. Make a fast recovery […]

  13. Adam Schallau Says:

    Wow! What an experience. I’m glad that you are not in worse shape and I wish you a rapid and full recovery.


  14. Aggie Villanueva Says:

    My best wishes for your quick recovery!

  15. Inge Fernau Says:

    Ouch, glad you are alive! Must have been some dream. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  16. Alex Roy(INDIA) Says:

    ohhh!……….Sorry to hear about your accident…..other side I am glad that you are back.

    You are always in my prayers…..Wishing you fast recovery

    Many good things are waiting for you in life, Get well soon.

    Alex R

  17. Mark Says:

    Whoah – Sorry to hear about this Gary. I wish you a speedy recovery!

  18. Photoburner » Blog Archive » Night Photography Gear Says:

    […] Crabbe recently took a dive off a 40 foot cliff at midnight and woke up four hours later  much worse for the experience. So be like a boy […]

  19. enlightphoto Says:

    Thanks everyone for the well wishes. They meant a lot while my recovery at home began. I’m finally starting to feel a bit more human, and can spend an hour every so often at the computer catching up on what the rest of the world is up to. The main body bumps, bruises, and breaks are all starting to mend, but the head injury will take some significant time ahead (pun) to fully recover. At least I figure I’ll have a good excuse to use for any time I say something stupid in the future.

    So thanks again for all the nice words. Each and every thought was most appreciated.



  20. LisaNewton Says:

    I’m so glad you’re okay. This is my first time visiting here, but your story hit home.

    I hope you have a speedy recovery.

  21. Joel Truckenbrod Says:

    Wow…insane! I’m relieved to hear you made it through alive. Best regards and speedy recovery Gary.

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