Natural Parks Amazing and Deadly Features

March 2, 2012
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I was staring of the edge of the Grand Canyon into a two thousand square mile maze of twists and turn. Looking down it was jaw dropping. I would look at it and the other side would not be in sight. All the rock layers were carved by billions of years of erosion by the Colorado River flowing viciously through small cracks and crevices. I would look down and see the Colorado River like a tiny stream of water running through a crack on the sidewalk. Looking at how far down the canyon went was impossible because you could only see so much of it.
Natural parks can be beautiful attractions that people are excited to go to. What people forget is that national parks are wilderness and they’re many dangerous things about them. Many think that they will see awesome beauty and be awed at the structures that are around them. There is also awesome danger that they are surrounded by without people being conscience of it. People are surrounded by the weather and wild animals not afraid to confront humans. With these external problems there are also internal problems like dehydration and hunger. In 2011 90 people died in 39 of 393 national parks in America. That seems like a good ratio. Only 90 people died in one year, but most of those people died because they made bad decisions and a strayed from the parks trail. There were some accidents involved and people died because they were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
While the Grand Canyon is an amazing natural structure it has dangers. Grand Canyon’s thunderstorms are deadly and dangerous and cause many deaths. I had experienced one of the violent and raging storms and it was the worst storm I had ever seen. When a severe thunderstorm is approaching visitors are encouraged to go inside because of the lightning threat. The people that die from lightning from the Grand Canyon are those who don’t heed the warning, people who can’t get inside in time, or get out of their cars and take pictures. It is not just the warnings on signs there are physical signs that could show that lightning may be attracted to you because of some electrical charge you are giving off like static electricity. One night in the Grand Canyon there was a severe thunderstorm and it was close to the south rim of the canyon which was the side I was on. While we were running from the Grand Canyon to our hotel that was about two hundred feet from the edge it started to rain. It started to pick up and the raindrops were as big as peas. I was worried because it then started to pick up and I felt something hit my head. I noticed it started to hail when we were about 50 feet from our hotel. I looked at the hail hit the ground and it was as big as a dime. Then we saw the bolts of lightning flashing rapidly. There was so much lightning flashing it seemed like midday.
All national parks have different weather that can cause deaths if not taken seriously. There are many types of severe weather throughout the US like hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. These can cause serious problems and are unpredictable and can be dangerous. Severe storms can sometimes cause flash floods that could come at any second and kill you. The weather can cause problems to arise like flash floods, mud slides/avalanches, flying debris, etc. National Parks are wilderness so anything can happen for example a light wind gust could cause a tree to tip over and kill someone under it.

I remember my gruesome eight hour hike into the hot dry canyon. The sun was beating on me like bread toasting in a toaster. It was relentless heat that wouldn’t go away even if you were hiding in the darkest crevice of a cave. When I got to the bottom the sun had exhausted all the energy out of me. I had to hike two more hurting, dehydrating, tiring hours to get to a little Native American village. The village had water, food, and shelter from the sun. Drinking water was like a snow day in my mouth on the hottest day in the year. It started getting dark and I noticed it started to get cooler. I thought to myself what a relief the scorching sun is gone. As it got later I noticed it was getting quite cold it felt like forty degrees I was thinking to myself this place is nightmare. During the day it was so hot I needed water every couple of steps, but now it was so cold I thought it would snow. I went into a cabin covered myself with multiple blankets trying to stay warm. As I tried to fall asleep I thought of the irony, during the day you were waiting for the cooling relief of night, and during the night you couldn’t wait to warm up in the vicious heat. The next morning I walked back to the trail that took me to the top and walked up it. It took 12 continuous hours to make it up the almost impossible and exhausting climb.

National Parks are in all different environments whether they are deserts, forests, lake/ocean, etc. The parks’ environments could be very cruel to those who are unprepared for it. Most people don’t go on a vacation and think they are going to get trapped in a desert for a couple days. When things like this happen people are most certain to die if they don’t get help and find the necessities they need to stay alive for as long as they can. Park rangers have been trying to aware people about bringing supplies just in case they get in trouble and need to wait for assistance.
The Grand Canyon had numerous signs that posted watch out for rattlesnakes because they like to hide in the shade and the sun. They want people to stay on or near the path and not to astray from it because venomous snakes hide in the bushes and sand. I was with a tour guide and he heard something that was moving that no one else heard. He was wondering what it was and thought it could be dangerous so he told everyone to stop so he could look around. He looked to his left and there was a six foot long rattlesnake on the side of the path and it was rattling in the defensive position. He unhesitantly called other park rangers after the sighting who knew how to handle these snakes. After they got the snake we continued the tour and we were all happy that the tour guide spotted the snake in time or someone would have gotten bitten.
The parks always have these signs to protect the tourists from the wildlife because the parks are wilderness. Some people follow the signs simple rule others think they will not run into an animal and they will be safe. When people do run into wild animals they often are injured and in sometimes even killed. The national parks have these rules for you to follow and respect because they are trying to protect you from danger.
It is important to have fun at national parks, but also it is important to stay safe by not doing anything that may have you risking your life. Following the national parks rules and using common sense will lower the death toll from national parks. Since all the deaths can’t be prevented, this would definitely lower the number. Without rules by national parks who knows how high the death toll would be today.

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