Posts Tagged ‘Mt Lemmon’

The Mt Lemmon Rescue

Tuesday, September 13th, 2022

I say, “If you want to have a good memory, you must do something that is memorable.”

Let me tell you about my son, who I affectionately refer to as “Bub.”

Bub studies engineering at the University of Arizona. He lives with my wife and I and, to say the least, he likes to ride his motorcycle.

Exactly two of weeks ago, Bub rode his motorcycle up to mount Lemon late in the afternoon. He had sent me some pictures of some cows around 8 pm. I was expecting him back soon but then he texted me at 9 pm to say “My motorcycle broke down on the far side of Mt Lemon. Come to the Control Road and drive south towards Oracle. I will start walking up the mountain to meet you.”

“I’m on the way.” I texted back.

My wife jumped in the truck with me and we sped up Mt. Lemmon, like a race car in the Indianapolis 500. We arrived in the village of Summerhaven, at the top of Mt Lemon, around 10:30 pm. We didn’t know exactly where the Control Road was but we eventually managed to locate it, near the Fire Station.

We were worried because we lost communication with Bub. He must have walked out of phone range. I had horrible thoughts about Bub walking up the mountain and being attacked by bears or snakes. I had a flashback to when we would take Bub hiking in the mountains as a child. When he got tired of walking, I would carry him on my back.

I wished that I could protect him that easily now.

My heart skipped a beat when it started to rain and bolts of lightning flashed around us, like a nightmarish scene out of a Franz Kafka novel. We drove down the rough and craggy road at about 2 miles per hour, weaving back and forth across it to avoid the large rocks. With each turn in the road and no sign of Bub, we became more filled with dread. It weighed heavy on our hearts that we had no communication with Bub for 3 hours.

I stopped the truck when I saw the road take a sharp dip down. I got out to examine the road to make sure we were able to get through.

Just then, a female deputy sheriff officer, drove up beside us with jeep lights flashing.

“Are you looking for Jimmy?” she asked.

“No we are looking for our son Bub. His motorcycle broke down up here.”

She said, “I received a call earlier tonight. Someone reported seeing him walking down the road. He should be about 4 miles away. Follow me and I will lead you.”

My heart leapt in joy to hear that Bryan was on the radar screen.

She barreled out in front of us and proceeded down the mountain at a rapid pace. We continued down at our cautious snail’s pace. 20 minutes later she came back up the mountain. Bub was in the car with her.

It was a happy reunion. He got in the truck and we proceeded to drive back down the road another 3 miles to collect Bryan’s broken motorcycle. I brought a 2 x 8 board that we use as a ramp to load the motorcycle on the bed of the truck. Unfortunately, the back wheel of the motorcycle was frozen and would not turn. To get the motorcycle into the truck we had to lift the back half of the motorcycle and push it up the ramp at the same time. Like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain for eternity.

And when I say “we” pushed the motorcycle up the ramp, of course I mean only Bub, who is as strong as an ox. My wife and I could only offer minimal assistance, considering our wide assortment of hernias, sore backs and other ailments. With much gratuitous grunting Bryan got the cycle on the pickup and he drove back up the mountain through the rain and lightning.

It was 2 am as we headed home. I was grateful that everything turned out as well as it did. I thought to myself, “This is one adventure that will stick in my memory, like a piece of gum stuck to the bottom of my shoe.”

This is a speech I delivered to “From Pen to Podium” Toastmasters, 8.13.2022.