With all the talk about bison injuries in Yellowstone (Stay away from them! They’re faster than you!), I thought I’d hit on a safety topic in my favorite national park.
I LOVE the Grand Canyon. I admit it. It’s kind of like a first love for me – I fondly remember its beauty and splendor and yet long for the fun and happy times spent there.
I don’t know what it is about the canyon that draws me – the vibrant colors, the carving river, or the fact that’s it a giant chasm in the earth. In 2008, I first saw the canyon when a change in vacation plans allowed me to spend four hours at the north rim. I can still remember how I felt gazing upon that rim for the first time – I was speechless.
As a national park, the Grand Canyon is left to its amazing, natural state. In these parks, visitors inherently take the risks that come with being in a ‘wild’ area. However, too many people don’t take these risks seriously. Whether in the backcountry or simply at the rim, you have to be prepared and be safe.
Not too long ago, I read the book Over the Edge:Death in Grand Canyon by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers; a book that most people find morbid, I felt was actually very interesting and educational.
Grand Canyon statistics show that on average, 2-3 people die there each year from falls at the rim. Reportedly, there have already been 2 deaths from falls in 2015 already. If you fall from the rim, you will likely die. Despite all the guard rails, signs, and ranger warnings, people don’t seem to take their safety seriously. When hiking in these national parks, you need to pack your common sense.
Falls don’t just happen from the rim. They are also common from within the canyon. Climbing peaks, hiking ledges, and rock scrambling, especially with weighted backpacks, can be perilous.
From Over the Edge, here are the most common causes of accidental falls in the Grand Canyon:
All of this information can be applied to any national park. Yosemite, Yellowstone, and some state and national parks involve some degree of danger from falling. Don’t let the wonder of these parks dampen your ability to see these risks.
So, be sure to:
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment!