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STORYTIME... Staring death right in the face, on my own, in the desert.

Updated On 26th April, 2020

Wow. How lucky I am to be alive right now.
First things first, I am okay and with no major injuries.
I have just woken today with a very sore neck and back and slightly bruised ribs.
I  got  off    v e r y   lightly, considering what happened to me yesterday.
Yesterday morning, in a little motel isolated in desert (where the police had dropped me), I looked back on the closest experience I have ever had with death.
As I sat with a cup of tea, staring out of the window at the mind blowing scenery that surrounded me, it still all felt very much like a dream… and I begun to write it up.
“I am sat here writing this at a small hotel 88km from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
About a 7 hours ago now, I was at the very edge of the North Rim dropping off two of my best friends, who were about to encounter a life changing experience… but little did i know I was about to do the same.
My girlfriends, also known as Twice The Health, began the incredible challenge of running north rim to south rim at 5am this morning, just as the sky turned to twilight so they could complete the run before the desert heat reached its peak.
They were to endure 25 miles of blood sweat and tears through the incredible natural wonder, and I was here to share the adventure with them.
First, by roadtripping from Phoenix through Flagstaff and Sedona.
 (I vlogged the whole thing so watch out for that on
And second, to drop them off at the beginning of the trail and drive round to meet them round at south rim.
The closest accommodation to the start line with availability was Marble Canyon Lodge, an 88km distance from the North Rim, which would mean an early rise at 1.30am to drive the girls to the trail head.
The three of us were all pretty tired having just had 4.5 hours sleep, but a considerable amount of adrenlain running through each of our bodies had us ready to take on the day.
Mine, because after dropping the girls off I was to explore one of my biggest dreams – the Antelope Canyons, before arriving at the Grand Canyon to meet the girls and then driving on to Vegas for 3 days to celebrate.
Not one of those 3 things materialised but really, i guess lucky i’m here to tell the story.
We left Marble Canyon Lodge to drive to the Canyon.
Successfully dropped the girls at the head of the North Kaibab Trail.
As I retraced my route away from the North Rim down the only road existing, to join the 89A, I begun to feel a wave of tiredness. I pulled over for 20 minutes knowing it was better to be late than injured, even if it meant missing my prebooked, bucket list Antelope Canyon tour.
Unable to sleep and restless, I was convinced I was awake and could at least make more tracks whilst I was feeling so.
I put the windows down slightly, the music up, and sung to myself whilst turning the windy roads.
As I passed Jacobs Lake, another milestone on my journey, the greenery turned to desert and the windy roads turned straight and disappeared way into the distance.
Whether it was the monotony, the very thin roads with no leeway for any mistake, the 4 hours sleep, or the emotional goodbyes to the girls… I dont know. But a combination of them all had me drift for a split second.
Regaining consciousness and physically slapping myself awake I noticed a sign stating 8km to Marble Canyon (the place we stayed last night), and I made a firm decision that i would stop, get some breakfast and coffee and sleep it off until check out time or until I felt ready to drive again.
As much as I had just seen a glimpse of death stare at me in the face, I was clearly exhausted beyond my knowledge and I drifted again.
This time I wasn’t so lucky.
I drifted instantly off the thin road onto the rocky terrain beside me, into a boulder / rock which caused my car to flip nearly twice before another rock stabilised me.
Upside down.
I can remember the feeling of coming off road but not the vision.
I can remember is the car roof banging on the ground and seconds later being back in the same position, with blood rushing to my head.
My instinct instantly told me to remove myself from the car as quickly as possible and to get as far away as i could incase anything blew, as I knew we had a jerrycan of fuel in the back.
My laptops, my cameras, everything I would usually guard with my life and was here with me, didnt even get a thought.
This was life and death in my head and all i could think was that i needed to move quick.
I can’t remember exactly how I got out of the car, even from looking at the photos but thank the lord none of my limbs were stuck. I remember shuffling myself out through some hole (which wasn’t the window) onto the red sand without much struggle at all.
With nothing in sight for miles and miles in either direction of the barren desert land and little traffic passing this route on a usual day, let alone at 6am in the morning… I started to panic.
I stood in silence in the middle of the desert for, I’d say, around 5 minutes, observing the cars sound and movement.
I soon realised noone was just going to turn up so I needed to actively do something, but was nervous to go anywhere near the car again.
I eventually edged towards the car and used some debris to reach through the hole I climbed out of to retrieve my phone from the car.
Another miracle occured when I recieved signal to my phone, something myself and the girls had lost a while back, and something that is very few and far between in the desert.
I called 911 and explained the situation and they had highway patrol, ambulance and pick up truck sent out to me right away. When I say right away, the first to arrive was the police and it took them 55 minutes to get to me.
THAT’S how out in the desert I was.
Around 30 minutes after the crash, i heard the distant sound of a car, and walked towards the road.
In shock, I didn’t even think to wave, but at the sight of my car, he immediately stopped.
The lovely local escorted me to his car where he sat me down and gave me some water. Another miracle surfaced when he told me he was a doctor. What are the chances!
He continued on to check my neck, spine and reflexes after which he confirmed were okay and as he stared at the over turned car he stared in disbelief,
‘I honestly have NO idea how you just got out of that and you have no injury.’
It was here, in this moment, that I realised just how very blessed I had been.
The rest of the day…
– Han + Em successfully completed the Grand Canyon run with no major injury!
– I managed to get a local to drive me 2 hours to meet them in Flagstaff
– We cancelled our onward roadtrip to Vegas and headed back to Em’s dads home in Scottsdale.
– We snuggled up with some delicious food, peanut butter cookies and ibroprufen and got a  good nights sleep.
If you are interested, I was vlogging the whole roadtrip and I have made the decision to include this occurrence in Part 2 of the Video {where the Antelope Canyon + Grand Canyon adventures would have been}.
So you can watch out for that on 🙂
Despite being absolutely gutted to have not been there to greet the girls at the end of their challenge, and not being able to see the Antelope Canyon or The Grand Canyon itself, I truly have to thank my lucky stars someone was watching over me and that I can adventure on with no injury.
I will, without a doubt, be back at some point to explore the canyons once more, but until then…
Next stop: LA
Happy adventuring 🙂
Mollie xxxx
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