What’s the most exciting treasure you’ve found on a hike? For me, it would be something stupid like a cool shaped rock. As much as I’m making you jealous with my rock story, nothing quite compares to this Arizona hiker’s find.
This past March, hiker Pearl Tsosie stumbled across a GoPro “in the barren desert” near the Grand Canyon. Turns out, it belonged to a group of engineering students from Stanford University, and it had seen far more than imagined.
Stanford alumni Bryan Chan told ABC News that the GoPro and a phone with a GPS was launched near the Grand Canyon on June 8, 2013 on a high-altitude weather balloon to gather data for his aerospace engineering dissertation. His fellow classmates and friends — Ved Chirayath, Ashish Goel, Tyler Reid and Paul Tarantino — were part of the team working on the project.
“We were supposed to recover the GoPro and the phone two hours after the launch, but it ended up being two years,” Chan said. “The GoPro and phone was projected to land in an area with cell coverage, but the problem was that the cell service coverage maps we relied on weren’t accurate, so the phone didn’t have signal as it came back to Earth. We couldn’t get the text it was supposed to send with the coordinates of where it landed.”
Two years later, hiker Tsosie discovered the GoPro and was able to return it to its owners.
Chan edited the incredible aerial footage and uploaded the video last Thursday to YouTube, where it had over three million views as of Tuesday afternoon.