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Comments about Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon:
An interesting summary of deaths at Grand Canyon by Park professionals. The book was most useful in planning a Grand Canyon trip, it pointed out all the classic pitfalls park guests put themselves into. The Canyon is dangerous and the beauty of the place tends to distract visitors.
Treat the Canyon with respect. If you don't carry enough water you'll get very ill and maybe even die. Ignore the signs of far off storms and you may find yourself in a muddy flash flood. Just check out the videos of Havasu Falls in 08, the popularity of the Falls meant plenty of cameras were rolling with the flood hit. Sometimes it seems like the difference between getting swept away suddenly is having a basic idea which way you'll run if the wall of water appears 200 yards ahead of you.
The book also covers historic deaths, which I thought was interesting. There are tales of murder in the book as well. A chapter on suicides was a bit unsettling, apparently a few people saw the end of "Thelma and Louise" and took the same plunge.
Perhaps most surprising were the overzealous operators of the commercial rafting companies that pushed on when one of the clients died. It was chilling how mercenary a few of the operators really were in keeping their fledgling companies profitable despite tragedies.
This book was grim but interesting. I'm sure it helped me plan my routes and contingencies better. The National Parks (and wilderness in general) are great, but they're not an amusement park. Take your survival (and your group's) seriously and enjoy the sights while you're there. No one wants to get lifted out by a $20,000 rescue effort or even worse in a wooden box.
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