Friday, November 4, 2011

Arizona's Grand Canyon

A warning when visiting Arizona's canyons
Be it the Grand Canyon or any other of Arizona's rocky attractions, visitors should be aware that there are precautions that must be observed.

We were told by our guide that the highest risk factors for hikers in the Grand Canyon is being male! going solo, and being unprepared for changes in the weather – heat in particular. It's much more intense in the Canyon. Temperatures in summer soar to over 100 degrees at times. A vertical plunge onto jagged rocks into a labyrinth created by time, wind and water, standing on the edge of a precipice where sedimentary rock crumbles unexpectedly, venturing too close to massive flakes that lean precariously from mother rock, and for the unprepared, negotiating a descent into an abyss that plunges thousands of feet is a perilous undertaking indeed.

Arizona's Coal Mine Canyon
At the Coal Mine Canyon, a spectacular place on the edge of the Painted Desert, we were warned more than once by our guide before exiting our tour vehicle, to stand well back from the canyon edge. Rocks, we were told, had a habit of crumbling. Looking from a point further along the path running alongside the canyon, I noticed numerous mossy overhangs, no more than four inches in depth with nothing beneath but air.

Over the abyss, crows performed aerial acrobatics as I pondered the results for an eager photographer (me) in search of a great picture. Death is but a whisper away for those foolish enough not to heed warnings.

Photographs copyright Anne Gordon

Posted by Anne Gordon on Friday, 4th November


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