I just returned from the Grand Canyon where I took both video and stills for another update to my “Grand Canyon Guide.” This trip I concentrated on the ten viewpoint stops along Hermit Road travelling east toward the road’s terminus at Hermits Rest. February in northern Arizona you can expect frigid temperatures with an ever present threat of snow. In fact, snow was still patchy on either side of the road and along the steep hillsides descending into the canyon where the sun did not penetrate. At 7,000 feet of elevation the weather can be brutally cold this time of year. Instead, yesterday it was sunny with a high in the low 60’s. But the wind was howling. So much so that it was difficult at times to keep my tripod steady when I was shooting video. Gusts ranged anywhere from twenty to forty miles per hour. I almost lost my hat once. If I had not stepped on it, it would have blown over the edge for sure.
But it was at Powell Point that I saw something that really did almost blow over the edge.
Take a look at the two photos above. You can see two young people sitting on the edge of a flat rock outcropping, dangling their feet above the edge of the canyon with a one mile straight drop below. Nothing would have stopped their fall if they had pitched over into thin air.
I was shooting video in their direction past the upper ledge that you can see on the right side of the upper ledge on the top picture. I was astonished to see this young couple climb over the lip of that upper ledge. They worked their way down about fifty feet or so toward the outcropping ledge and then calmly sat down on that outcropping hanging their feet off the ledge.
The wind was blowing hard during the entire time their adventure began. I watched them and took several dozen stills and minutes of video as they calmly gazed at the beauty of the Grand Canyon in front and below them.
There is not enough money on the Planet Earth you could have given me to crawl out on that precipice to calmly sit there over that abyss. People around me gathered staring at the couple fearing the worst as the wind continue to blow. Either that couple was shielded from the wind that was blowing or felt so confident in their ability to stay put that they lingered in that position for a good twenty minutes or so.
They finally crawled back up and casually and calmly walked passed me with a nod and a smile.
An average of 12 people per year die at the Grand Canyon, 2-3 people per year die in falls over the edge to a crushing death one mile below at the bottom of the canyon. All I can say is that I was relieved that 2 of that count did not occur while my 1080p High Definition video camera was rolling. Now I know what some of you are thinking…NO, I would’ve not liked to be the videographer that captured such a tragedy.
The Grand Canyon: 277 (river miles) Long, 10 miles wide (average) and 1 mile deep (average)
Till next time…Fred Fichman
Link to my “Grand Canon Guide”: http://amzn.to/1OZwWjL