Black Canyon of the Gunnison
National Park

Fri, 26 Jul 2002

When I stand right next to a vertical drop of more than a thousand feet I get this funny feeling on the inside of my thighs and in my stomach. Especially when there is no railing. It happened to me yesterday in the Colorado National Monument with its towering monuments and today again on the rim of the Black Canyon.

Interestingly enough, in the land where the packaging of a paper towel lists many interesting ways to kill yourself or your loved ones using the paper towel in inappropriate ways, there are lookout points in National Parks without rail, net or even a panel telling visitors not to jump of the cliff. I love this. This is how it should be. Turn up your brain ... if you step of the cliff you are dead ... what did you expect? ... Do it once, learn from it and don't do it again!

The Black Canyon is made up from extremely hard and old stone which has been pushed up from the earths core millions of years ago. A much different kind of rock, compared to the sand stone formations found in many other National Parks. In Colorado National Monument I was afraid to go out on the rim because I imagined the stone to suddenly break apart and fall down due to my added weight. Here in the Black Canyon I feel much safer. I can walk so close to the rim that I can look down at the river without fear of seeing everything crumble under my feet. This old, hard black rock feels, rock solid. Not that this would alleviate the funny feeling, oh no, it gets stronger the closer to the edge I walk, so I am glad the rangers have put up some railings in strategic locations, this allows me to marvel at the beauty of the landscape instead of being under a constant adrenaline rush unable to think of anything else than the funny feeling on the inside of my thighs.

Text and images created 2002 by Tobi Oetiker
(Yes, I do like people writing me about these logs! I sometimes wonder if anybody is reading them.)