A Warning About Summer Hiking in the Grand Canyon

Click to learn more about our video: Hiking the Grand Canyon:  The Corridor TrailsFrom: Bill Orman
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2000 6:32 PM
Subject: [grandcanyon] Heat Warning

A sad and somber note of reminder and warning to readers of this group. One of my dear friends, who happened to be one of our most loved and respected nurses at our little hospital, has just died at the Flagstaff Medical Center from complications of heat stroke. She was Hopi and grew up in this area, and knew well the heat of the desert summer. She was with a group that was doing their annual Memorial Day weekend hike to Rainbow Bridge. This was an experienced group of folks who had been doing this same hike for many years. The heat here has been unrelenting for several weeks now. I day hiked down the Grandview Trail on Saturday, and drank 2.5 gallons of water. And this was in spite of hiking in the early morning and late evening hours. And carrying only a light day pack. I know that we all love the Canyon, but it and the desert southwest are dangerous places this time of year. For those who are from outside the area and are contemplating a southwest hike this summer, I would urge you to consider something safer and more enjoyable than a summer trek in the Canyon. The Zion Narrows, for example, are wonderful, and despite their own set of dangers, are certainly much >more enjoyable and safer than the Canyon at this time of year. Please consider my advice.

Bill Orman
Tuba City, AZ

Bill continues in a subsequent note:

This incident has been a tremendous loss for our whole community and a lesson for us all, even those of us who have done fairly extensive desert hiking. Simply, it is just not worth it to risk everything. I was not on this hike, but had expressed grave reservations last week about its advisibility, given the recent sweltering temperatures. I think that we often get caught up in our schedules when we plan things, and forego common sense to accomodate our activities to our work and vacation plans. This group, for example, always hiked on Memorial Day weekend. It is true that, some years, this is a good time to hike. But not this year. I think this is also a problem with Grand Canyon hikers. We apply for our permits months in advance, and plan our vacations and days off around them, then are reluctant to bag it if conditions are not favorable. Please print my note if you think it would help to warn others. This is something that none of us ever thinks would ever happen to them or someone in their group. All of us are still in a state of disbelief. But it does happen, and it is avoidable.

Bill Orman
Tuba City, AZ

Extra water is just so heavy!

Think extra water is too heavy to carry? Read Patrick's story. I think you'll change your mind.

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