Failing Forward

with Daniel Cassadio

Prologue – Chapter 2: Bluffing Lightning

PrologueRaegan Zacher1 Comment

I wrote this blog:

In the comfort of my bed at home.


Time is getting close and in just over a month away I will be getting on a one-way flight to Paris. And its hard saying goodbye to friends and family because I don’t know how long I will be away for. I could be away for decades, years, months or weeks – there was no really telling. John Shone and I refused to say goodbye until my very last day. So instead of crying, getting emotional and reminiscing of our past adventures; we decided to go on one more. 

Our final adventure together was a 4 or 5-hour road trip south of Bunbury (our hometown) to a mountain range known as the Stirling Ranges. 

The road trip on its own was quite memorable from drinking bitter Cappuccinos at 2 am, sleeping on a beach, Johns first hand brake skid that miraculously did a full 180 (beginners luck), hitting 170 km/h in my 18 year old car and crashing the car into bushes.

The end. 

Relax, I’m joking although that on its own was a very exhausting, scary and hilarious 24 hours; more was to come. But little did the naïve 18 year olds know what was waiting around the corner or better way to put it; up a mountain. 

John and I became determined to sleep on Mt. Bluff Knoll, which is the highest point in WA. 

The hike up the mountain was pretty hectic but we did have a lot of time to kill, so we could go at an easy pace.

We reached the summit in the late afternoon and there were no hiking tourists at all, it was just us. As we started making our Nutella wrap dinners, we were anticipating for a nice sunset overlooking the countryside. But that wasn’t the case – the beginning song of the Lion King would have to wait because the only thing that was around us was cloud. There were so many clouds that we actually couldn’t see the sun and it was getting dark quick… Fantastic. #ItalicsForSarcasm

As John and I were eating our dinner we overlooked on what landscape was left and we were shocked when we saw a few lighting sightings. The more we ate our 

‘dinner’ wraps the more lightning we saw; luckily it was very far away and we couldn’t even hear the sounds. We just thought it looked really cool – the joys of being naïve. 

We then got our towels and put it over a rock and that was our bed for the night. And to add to our 5 star luxury suite we were camped under a 2-foot high plant to protect us from the rain. Before we checked into our suite, we had another look of the view off the mountain. It was literally just darkness and lightning was flashing all over the place but we couldn’t hear it – ‘she’ll be right’ we thought. As we tucked away and did our best to be comfortable, we somehow did and went to sleep. 

We awoke sometime later with rain absolutely pouring on us. I yelled to John ‘Bro, you awake?!’, John turns ‘yeah bro, I’ve been awake for half an hour’.  I looked up and just saw bucket loads of rain and I could hear the thunder sounds rumbling up the mountain and putting into me so much fear. 

Then the problem kicked in, when the lightning strikes the other nearby mountains. And because everywhere we looked was darkness, when we saw lightning it really stood out and became that much more brighter, stronger, louder and meaner. This was the point where the whole adventure really took a turn and we had to question what do we do now?

Our thoughts were very quickly interrupted when lightning hit the neighbor mountain and that made John and I face the other direction. We were terrified, we had no idea what to do. 

Then moments later, a moment I will never forget. The direction we were facing was suddenly brightened up. From seeing complete darkness to only being able to literally see the color white made every bone in my body tighten up and my body curled up in a bowl. The sound was like nothing I would ever forget and the top of my head ached and it honestly felt like it was fried. The sound felt like a gun shot right past my ear and the lightning that hit 3 meters away from us killed me. Or so I thought. After a few moments of being absolute petrified, I screamed out ‘JOHNNN!’ and started to shake his body. ‘I’m okay’ John said softly still recovering to what just happened. As we both tried to recover our thoughts and our eyes adjusted back to the complete darkness, we saw a different color. It wasn’t black or white; it obviously had to be red. We were confused as anything and then it took us a few seconds to realize that the lightning started a fire! 

John and I tried to take everything in and as we did, the darker our thoughts became. We interrupted those thoughts and asked God what to do and He gave John a thought. 

John said ‘it would be stupid to descend the mountain in the rain; darkness and fear of being hit by lightning again. But it would be ridiculous to stay on this mountain and hope for the best’.  I instantly agreed, as we started to very quickly start packing everything up, the sounds and flashes of lightning continued. The fire was still going but was contained from all the rain. 

We then began to descend the mountain arm in arm. If John slipped I had him, if I slipped he had me – we were clung to each other. My iPhone battery had 16% battery and we had to use it as a flashlight, another problem. What we were going to do for consistent light to help us get down the mountain? We would let future John and DC deal with that, but for now lets get down as quickly as possible and sing every Christian song we know. There were times of the hike where we would not sing or talk and in that time my mind would get cloudy and keep playing the lightning moment over and over again. John would snap me out of it and encourage me to keep talking and singing, so we both did. 

A few hours later, somehow we started to get down to the very bottom of the mountain. And when we made it to the car we couldn’t of been more grateful to be safe and not in a life threatening position. I checked my phone and my battery was still 16% after 3 hours of the flashlight. 

We then started the roadtrip home and after 4 or 5 so hours of singing Michael Jackson and expressing our perspective of ‘the mountain’. In the end, we made it home. Woah.
Thank you Jesus for taking care of us. We owe you big time. 

This was taken very early in the morning after we just made it to the car. We were pretty damn happy! 

This was taken very early in the morning after we just made it to the car. We were pretty damn happy!