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View Diary: DKos Tour Series: Grand Canyon National Park (Part 1) (57 comments)

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  •  Thorough, Informative, and Entertaining (4+ / 0-)

    When they remake the TV series "The Office," I hope they use your other.

    A couple decades ago I hiked the famous Bright Angel Trail down through time from the South Rim to Indian Garden, about half the depth of the Canyon at that point where I camped overnight, sharing the "highway" with the famous mules train, carrying the weaker-kneed tourists into the depths.  I loved trying to pick out the goats on the cliff face, and the view from half way down the rift onto the Colorado River roiling below was as breathtaking as the views from the rim.

    That night the park rangers came through the campsite to let us all know that someone had committed suicide by leaping from the lip of the rim.  It was the day after Christmas.  "Not an infrequent occurrence, particularly at this time of year," we were informed.

    I'll never forget the sickening sensation of standing at the edge of the precipice and looking over to see birds flying high in the air but  beneath my feet.  The mind boggles.

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    by Limelite on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 11:20:26 AM PDT

    •  There are many suicides each year in GCNP (4+ / 0-)

      Sadly. Some actually deliberately drive off the rim - sort of a Thelma and Louise thing.  My brother told me about one who did that, but survived for a little while, trapped in the wreckage, to the horror of everyone looking down from the rim. Bad enough that a person would go out that way, but bad also to pollute the canyon doing it. Another guy opened the door and leapt out of one of the helicopters.  Sort of wish they would ban the helicopters for aesthetic reasons, but still...

      Suicide is never worth it. So often it is an impulsive act. I'm OK with assisted suicide when one reaches the last stages of some painful degenerative disease, but depression is not the same thing and it's a tragedy when this happens.

      I kid of like the sensation of watching birds from above, flying below. Ravens are wonderful birds; always worth watching. Saw a peregrine falcon on this last trip to the Canyon, rocketing below us - slate blue color from above.

      “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

      by ivorybill on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 12:50:22 PM PDT

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      •  I just mentioned that incident. . . (5+ / 0-)

        the car charging over the rim (previous commentator's reply), but this fellah went down well over a thousand feet and he was not alive when he hit. Anyway, such stuff happens so rarely, considering, and mostly it's great things that happen at the canyon, like watching those very entertaining acrobatic ravens (my favorite avians of all time). They are excellent parents, they mate for life, they constantly tune each other's flying skills, they're clever, they're tricksters, they just happy birds. Special birds. I'm glad you enjoy them, too. I could go on and on and on about raven stories that mesh with my backpacking excursions. But I won't. I am, however, thinking of writing a diary one of these days about some of the outstanding jaunts I've led, and by outstanding I am also referring to hilarious, not scary. But I have to you that I once led a class out to Shoshone Point, my favorite South Rim vista, and a squadron of ravens were doing their barrel rows, and what not, when a peregrine falcon approached the rim (coming from the river) with a rather large lizard in its mouth. One raven truly took carpe diem to its max and somehow swept beneath the falcon, then took the lizard right out of its mouth. That was about 50 feet above us and we were all blown away. What did falcon do about it? Ha! What could he do being outnumbered by a much smarter bird!

        Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

        by richholtzin on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 02:55:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Ah, you have me at an advantage. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Limelite

      but I am also blushing. Thanks so much for your comment, Limelite. Really. I guess I have worked at the canyon for so many years in the capacity of either a guide or an educator (and there IS a big difference), even a boatmen, that I just got used to calling that big chasm my 'other' office. Now I get to write and share information that I am happy you and so many others in our community find 'informative' and 'entertaining.' Be sure to tune in tomorrow, about the same time as today's posting, for part two. Then, on Monday, around 3 p.m., I will post a special supplement on all the Grand Canyon trails, noting the routes, elevation gain/loss, and stuff like that. As for the "jumper' incident you mentioned, which is what the parkys tend to call such tragic news. . .that's a sad thing to hear about, and worse to watch. Maybe a few years I was waiting for some field institute day trekkers, at the El Tovar, and some guy managed to drive his car onto the pavement skirting the rim and damn if he didn't drive the car and himself right over the edge. I didn't see it happen but was there a couple minutes afterward. You couldn't even see the car (it went that far down). What a mess. (Another reason why I don't do any more volunteer S & R work!). Anyway, thanks, again, for posting your comment and for your support.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Sat Apr 06, 2013 at 02:39:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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