I had a grueling weekend. I tried finding two geocaches, one at the Gordon Creek waterfall, and the other in the San Rafael Swell, but I ended up finding neither.

I rode out to Gordon Creek with my sister and her family on Saturday, but since the road to the falls was too snow-covered, we had to hike from the main road (near the railroad bridge) to the waterfall. I don’t remember how long it took us–probably more than an hour–but by the time we got there, everybody was exhausted (and one of the kids frozen). It turned out that the cache was on the middle level of the falls, which I could have easily gotten to, but I could never have gotten back up without special equipment. The falls were frozen over, and on top of the ice was 12″ of snow–no way I could climb 10′ back up to the top level. So we hiked back, all bummed about working that hard for nothing. It was only a 2.4-mile hike round trip, but the deep snow made it pretty difficult.

Yesterday, I set out fairly early in the morning to find my 100th cache, on a formation called The Wickiup in the Swell (pictures are here). I found a few easy caches along the way, just to get my count up to 99, then I parked near the Sinbad exit on I-70 and started hiking the 2.4 miles to The Wickiup. The hike itself wasn’t bad, especially since the ground was still frozen–my feet didn’t sink into the mud much. Once I got there, about 1.5 hours later, it did’t take me long to realize that there was no way I would be able to reach the cache. There were a couple of vertical sections in my way, but they were all loose dirt and shale, so with as moist as the ground was, it just wasn’t safe. Early summer would have been a much better time of year to go. So, after giving up, I hiked back to the bottom of The Wickiup and prepared lunch, then hiked back to the car. The hike back was awful–the frozen mud had melted, and my feet were sinking in two or three inches. I didn’t stop to rest on the way back, so I was just about dead by the time I reached the car, but I was so relieved to be back that I didn’t care.

During the drive back home, I saw what is probably one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen:

This truck was driving eastbound on I-70, escorted by three Green River Fire Department trucks and two UHP cars. I caught the tail-end of the convoy about eight miles west of Green River. The two UHP cars were hanging back, each with their lights flashing, so none of the other cars on the road were sure whether or not they should pass. Eventually, one of the cars in front of me passed the tailing UHP car, and everyone else followed. I could see billowing smoke more than a mile ahead, but not much else. Then, at a bend in the highway ahead of me, I could see that there was a semi, ON FIRE, driving down the road. As I got closer, I could see smoldering chunks of foam, cardboard, and paper tumbling and flittering behind the truck. Just after the Price exit to US-6, the truck slowed down and started pulling off to the shoulder–I stayed on I-70 just so I could see what the hell was going on. The truck had barely stopped when I caught up to it, and the driver swung out the door and was looking back at his trailer–it was still smoldering and had buckled from the heat. It looked like it was about to crumple completely and break in half.

After I passed the semi and the fire trucks that had pulled over, I hauled ass to the first Green River exit and got back on I-70 going westbound. From the start of the on-ramp at Green River to the off-ramp for US-6, I had the gas pedal pushed all the way to the floor, doing about 105 MPH (hey, all the cops in the area were occupied). I exited I-70 directly opposite of the burning trailer, and stopped to take a few pictures and videos of it. After a couple of minutes, it looked like they were going to park the semi and leave it there, so I got back in the car and started driving off. Right as I started moving, the semi driver got back in and took off again, going towards Green River.

I just can’t, for the life of me, figure out why the fire department and UHP not only allowed the driver to keep going, but apparently encouraged him to do so. If that trailer had crumpled any more, it would have crashed to the ground, scattering burning cargo all over the interstate. If that happened while I or another motorist was passing it, it could have been disastrous. I’m hoping that the Emery County newspaper will have an article explaining what the hell was going on, but I shouldn’t be counting on it.

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