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Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon by Michael P. Ghiglieri and Thomas M. Myers

Are you morbid, and also enjoy the outdoors?  Then you'll absolutely adore this book!

Over the Edge: Death In Grand Canyon reads like an outdoorsy-death-lover's delight! This book honors the names of more deceased than Forest Lawn. In fact, The Grand Canyon may as well be a Forest Lawn Cemetery, since almost one thousand folks have died there. And we're not just talking good old fashioned everyday death by falling, slipping, or tripping over the edge of The Grand Canyon, either. Oh no, there's plenty of other exciting (and more creative) means of dying documented in The Grand Canyon too. Because the great Grand Canyon's no one trick mule ride when it comes to death and dying.

Like, for instance, death-by-not-setting-your-parking brake. Remember Thelma and Louise; how at the end of the movie the two heroines linked hands and Thelma, I believe it was, floored the gas and launched their convertible into The Grand Canyon? Well, imagine Thelma and Louise, rather than flooring the gas, instead simply not setting the parking brake after parking their car at the very edge of the Grand Canyon; and imagine next that they've exited their convertible to enjoy the sublime Grand Canyon view, but lo and behold, they've forgotten - dipshits - about their kids in the back seat!

And now, finally imagine the parking brake fails, and Thelma and Louise, mere feet from the car, but too shocked to shout for help (as if there were time for help anyway), watch with a mixture of paralyzed horror and disbelief as their little children buckled snug in their carseats begin rolling fatefully forward toward the yawning edge of The Grand Canyon, closer, closer, until...finally...the front wheels leave the earth, and a moment later, Thelma and Louise see their children alive for the last time as the car enters the air of the unforgiving chasm and plummets, plummets...crash. Explosion. Burn. Quite compelling (if not grotesquely gratuitous) outdoor reading! How would you have liked to have been those parents, all jazzed and excited on your family vacation upon having finally arrived at The Canyon, and in a flash, bye bye babies, forever?

Or, like death-by-diving-into-an-18-inch-pool of water! From 180 feet up off of a sputtering waterfall! Ouch.

Of course, one should never glibly (and never gleefully) relay these tragic tales of untimely demise one reads about in a book that tallys every death (and near death) in detail, during The Grand Canyon's "civilized" history, since that would be distasteful, disrespectul, and certainly insensitive to the memories of the poor victims and their loved ones left behind.

But, good God, how fricking stupid do some of these nincompoops have to be to find their names, dates of birth and death, itemized in the pages of an unputdownable tasty entertaining treat titled Over the Edge: Death In Grand Canyon? Some of these people are so naive and ill-prepared for a walk down the block (let alone for a backpack into The Canyon) that I couldn't help almost rooting against them and hoping they would in fact meet their maker and not be rescued. And let me tell you how disappointed I was in reading the harrowing accounts of people who indeed survived their stupendous stupidity!

Look, helicopter sightseeing disasters caused by The Canyon's unpredicatble wind shears will occur, or whitewater rafting accidents in the Colorado River's world class rapids, or flash floods, airline collisions over the Canyon, murder (including one serial killer victim), lightning strikes, rattlesnake bites, spooked mules roped-together going one-by-one, like doomed dominoes, off the precipitous, narrow South Rim Bright Angel Trail over the edge (along with their terrified human riders) - I can live with that kind of arbitrary, absolutely-nothing-you-can-do-about-it, death. That's Death that Fate dictated, or Destiny decided, and left you out of its existential equations.

But dying from heat stroke or heat exhaustion - dehydration - because you thought three pints of water per person for a three day backpack in July, when temperatures in the Inner Canyon regularly soar over 110 degrees (and that's 110 degrees in the shade) would be enough water both to drink and to cook with? - is it wrong to suggest such foolhardy imbeciles had it coming to them?

Maybe next time some of these misinformed morons (assuming they've survived) will remember the importance of always securing their parking brakes before putting the Chrysler or Chevy Nova into park. Especially if they're foolish enough to park the car at the very precipice of The Canyon. And maybe too they'll check how deep the water is before dying (I mean diving). Hope so. Because The Grand Canyon's a national park, People, not a national morgue.


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