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Friday, January 8, 2010

Adventure Girls Beware: The abyss could suck you in

Grand Canyon hiking tip: Don’t be mesmerized by the scenery and forget to watch your footing.

Grand Canyon, AZ -- “If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you,” said German philosopher Frederich Nietzsche. The man whose body was found this week hundreds of feet below “The Abyss” in Grand Canyon National Park may have been gazing. Or perhaps he went over the steep edge intentionally.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, January 5, Grand Canyon patrol rangers noticed a light-colored passenger vehicle parked on Hermit Road at The Abyss. Upon returning the next morning to check on the vehicle and finding it still unoccupied, park officials called a search investigation and first used a spotting scope to glass the area below the rim. A helicopter reconnaissance crew was called in.

Grand Canyon National Park’s The Abyss is notable for its steep drop. The south rim comes to an end near the roadway and visitors report “there is only air in front of and below you.”

On Wednesday, January 6, the helicopter crew reported spotting the body of a lone male approximately 300 feet below the rim at the Abyss which is on far west end of the south rim. Search and rescue personnel then rappelled down to prepare the body for transport.  The body was transported to the rim by helicopter via long-line operation and then transferred to the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

The incident reminds girl adventurers to always be cautious when hiking canyon country. Girls Adventure Guide hiking safety tips include:
  • Drink plenty of water; dehydration can cause dizziness and unbalance -- not good symptoms when hiking near the edge.
  • keep pets on leash - jumping pets can create unbalance
  • avoid hiking alone
  • tell people where you will be, give them a phone number to call if you don’t check back in after your hike.

Always be alert of the dangers of falling. Don’t be mesmerized by the scenery and forget to watch your footing. Beware: if you gaze long into an abyss, the hypnotic effects of its beauty may cause you to forget your physical surrounds. The abyss could suck you in.

The Grand Canyon National Park Service is conducting an investigation into the incident.

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Girls Adventure Guide provides free adventure travel tips and girls adventure news.

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