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Adventure in Tanzania with Kidz at Heart

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Canyon Adventurers Find Loose Footing Deadly

An idyllic canyon adventure went bad when a hiker fell to his death at Glen Canyon on Saturday. The red rock country attracts explorers from all over the world. Unfortunately not all visitors are accustomed to walking along steep cliffs with areas of loose, talus slopes.

A National Park Service (NPS) investigation found that Robert Hunt, 49, from St. Peters, Missouri was day hiking with a friend. As he attempted to cross a talus slope at the edge of a cliff, Mr. Hunt fell, landing in the shallow water and mud 70 feet ( 21.336 meters) below. He sustained a traumatic head injury. 

The NPS warns that talus slopes, or areas of loose rock on steep terrain, are extremely hazardous for hikers. Mr. Hunt had been visiting the area with four friends and had gone on several day hikes during his trip.

Girls' Adventure Travel  tip: Hey, unknown waters or unfamiliar terrain certainly increases the ol' adrenalin rush when adventuring, but remember to use caution. The unknown environment can "act" quite differently than what you are used to back home or in more familiar surroundings. 

In Canyon Country, arroyos can become flooded with deadly waters without a cloud overhead. A small rain burst miles away has killed unprepared hikers as the water rushes downhill. The stone canyons do not absorb water. Likewise, extreme temperatures can cause dizziness and it is easy to lose your balance. Of course it doesn't help when the terra firma is not so firma. Even after several days in an unfamiliar environment, stay on your toes, drink plenty of water and watch your footing. I recently took a nasty tumble as I video taped a hike. Wounded pride and skinned knees was, fortunately, all that beset me. It could have been deadly.

You won't see signs like the one above at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. (I took this one on the side of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.)


Glen Canyon National Recreation Area was created when the Colorado River was dammed by the Glen Canyon Dam. The waters behind the dam formed Lake Powell, named after Colorado River explorer and one-armed Civil War veteran John Wesley Powell. 

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