Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon

Registered by winggorydetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 8/29/2023
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Journal Entry 1 by winggorydetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, August 29, 2023
I got this softcover from a local Savers thrift shop, for another release copy.

I've read several books about the dangers in different national parks, including Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite by the same authors as this book. While the differences in terrain result in a different variety of accidents, there are common themes, primarily that of tourists simply ignoring safety advice and assuming that because they're at a tourist attraction they're somehow automatically safe from harm. Many of the cases described here are the direct result of someone being careless, often mixing booze and bravado with deadly results - but some of them, the most heartbreaking ones, involve the deaths of innocents: young children left in the car while the adults went to the rim, only to have the car roll... And there's a very sad account of a young boy who suffered heat stroke from dehydration, all the while walking the trail with his family, who had water with them but did not realize that an active child who didn't feel thirsty might get in serious trouble in a matter of a few hours.

There are tales of the earliest explorers of the canyon walls and the river, and of more recent incidents in which people get too close to the edge - usually for photo ops - and simply tumble off. The ease with which one can get lost in such a vast canyon if one strays off the trail is emphasized by many accounts.

The book includes an account of the 1956 mid-air collision of two airplanes, the worst of a number of plane crashes in the area.

The chapters are illustrated with petroglyph-style icons; Chapter 1, "Say, how many people fall here?", has a figure toppling from a cliff, and the "flash flood" chapter shows someone struggling in rising water against a cliff face. And the "freak accidents" chapter shows an understandably-upset figure being beset by a snake, a centipede, and a bolt of lightning - though as far as I recall, none of the cases in that chapter inflicted all three of those things on anyone at the same time {wry grin}.

Not all the cases here are tragedies; the authors included many near-misses and daring rescues. But the book emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the demands of this spectacular natural wonder.

[I've also enjoyed - and been horrified by - Death in Yellowstone by Lee H. Whittlesey, which recounted many of the ways in which people have died while visiting or working in Yellowstone Park.]

Journal Entry 2 by winggorydetailswing at LFL - Sequoia Rd And Sassafras Rd in Westford, Massachusetts USA on Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Released 10 mos ago (8/30/2023 UTC) at LFL - Sequoia Rd And Sassafras Rd in Westford, Massachusetts USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in MA here.]

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