Read Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon: Gripping Accounts of All Known Fatal Mishaps in the Most Famous of the World's Seven Natural Wonders by Michael P. Ghiglieri Thomas M. Myers Online


Gripping accounts of all known fatal mishaps in the most famous of the World's Seven Natural Wonders. Two veterans of decades of adventuring in Grand Canyon chronicle the first complete and comprehensive history of Canyon misadventures. These episodes span the entire era of visitation from the time of the first river exploration by John Wesley Powell and his crew of 1869 tGripping accounts of all known fatal mishaps in the most famous of the World's Seven Natural Wonders. Two veterans of decades of adventuring in Grand Canyon chronicle the first complete and comprehensive history of Canyon misadventures. These episodes span the entire era of visitation from the time of the first river exploration by John Wesley Powell and his crew of 1869 to that of tourists falling off its rims in Y2K. These accounts of the 550 people who have met untimely deaths in the Canyon set a new high water mark for offering the most astounding array of adventures, misadventures, and life saving lessons published between any two covers. Over the Edge promises to be the most intense yet informative book on Grand Canyon ever written....

Title : Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon: Gripping Accounts of All Known Fatal Mishaps in the Most Famous of the World's Seven Natural Wonders
Author :
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ISBN : 9780984785803
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 586 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon: Gripping Accounts of All Known Fatal Mishaps in the Most Famous of the World's Seven Natural Wonders Reviews

  • Benny
    2018-11-09 08:25

    This is one of those books you see in the gift shop at Grand Canyon NP, and you think "yeah, that might be interesting." It is absolutely riveting. Basically, it is a chronicle of every known fatality that has happened in the park. While that sounds kind of morbid, due the authors in depth research and great story telling ability, each incident takes on a life of it's own. It is a must read for anyone who would venture below the rim on foot or in a boat down the Colorado. The lessons learned here could save your life. It makes you appreciate and respect the dangers involved with traversing this magnificent wilderness. Highly recommended for anyone with a fascination for the American West. Tony Hillerman fans will love this book.

  • Sesana
    2018-11-16 05:07

    This can kind of be viewed as a companion volume to Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park, despite being by different authors. They're both the same basic concept: this is how everybody who died in the national park died. Which is ever bit as morbidly fascinating as you might imagine. What struck me in relationship to the Yellowstone book is that, although the causes of death are quite different, the thought processes that lead to them are remarkably similar: the signs aren't for me, the trail markers are just suggestions, I don't need that much water, it isn't that far, etc. At least I don't have to worry about this book intruding on a potential future trip. I'm afraid of heights, and visiting the Grand Canyon sounds terrifying to me anyways.

  • irene
    2018-10-29 10:07

    this made me want to visit the grand canyon... very, VERY carefully.

  • Catherine
    2018-11-03 06:09

    I borrowed this book from the library prior to a trip to the Grand Canyon a few years ago- I found it interesting and a good warning to be careful when I was there (and was preaching to my husband and my children the whole time.) Crazily enough, we ended up witnessing a man falling to his death that same trip (N. Rim- Bright Angel Point), and the warnings of the book were really driven home. They were selling it at the gift shop when we were comfort shopping after the incident (shock does weird things), and I recommended it to other people shopping there. We ended up talking to a park Ranger while they were searching for the man, and accidents happen frequently due to careless behavior of people who think the park is Disneyland. It is not. The book is a sobering but realistic look at what goes on every year but does not make more than the Flagstaff news.

  • Ann
    2018-11-10 10:13

    As an outdoor adventure enthusiast, I thought it might behoove me to read this book. The take-away lesson is that the overwhelming preponderance of deaths and other mishaps are the result of poor judgement or a lack of knowledge. Some of these matters are no brainers, such as guard rails with warning signs. Others are easily learned, such as the amount of water you need to hike when the temperature is over 100 degrees, or the fact that hiking back out of the canyon at the end of the trip is much harder than hiking down when you are fresh, or that established trails possess great wisdom. A few are less obvious, such as flash floods in slot canyons that occur when the storm is out of sight, miles away. As a river-runner, I was particularly interested in the section on river mishaps. This book confirmed what I already suspected: this river deserves respect, drunkenness on the river is often lethal, life jackets save lives, and commercial trips are relatively safe.

  • Marie
    2018-10-27 09:59

    I picked this book up in the gift shop at the Grand Canyon, and call me morbid, but I really enjoyed it. I'm just glad I read it AFTER I had left! Divided into sections on how people have ultimately met their demise at the Grand Canyon, this book is packed with interesting, historical and often grisly stories. The section on people accidentally falling over the edge was probably the worst for me, as often times their family members were standing right there. (I also have a slight fear of heights - probably made worse by this book!)This book honestly isn't for the faint of heart, and a few times I had to turn the page because it was so sad, but the book stressed something very important, and that is that nature isn't Disneyland. You have to be smart and prepared. A lot of the deaths in the book could have been prevented if people had alerted someone to their plans, taken plenty of water and known their limits. Sad, interesting, a little macabre, but recommended.

  • Jen
    2018-11-15 06:08

    Not sure why I didn't review this before. I read it years ago. The story I remember the most is the idiot that was a practical joker who "pretended" to fall off of the wall of the rum as his daughter was walking by. She thought he was joking, and he was, but he didn't understand physics and terminal velocity. This will have to be a re-read sometime in the future. It was a good one.

  • Cathy
    2018-11-09 08:25

    Being a somewhat paranoid person when it comes to edges and my children, I am glad I read this book AFTER our vacation to the Grand Canyon. Which I just have to say was amazing - it is one of the most beautiful places on earth! Just stay on the trail and watch your step and drink lots of water! This book is completely fascinating and full of crazy, sad, shocking, scary, and amazing stories about death in the Grand Canyon. Truth is definitely stranger than fiction! I learned so much, for example, I had no idea there was a mid air collision over the Canyon in the 50s. But mostly I learned that the Grand Canyon is incredibly dangerous and must be respected and well prepared for. I have been telling my family these stories for the past two months, which has led to some interesting family discussions. So yes, Spencer - faulty toasters DO kill more people every year than have ever died in the Grand Canyon... But I still say no way to any high adventuring in the Canyon someday! Not while I'm the mom anyway!

  • Christina
    2018-10-24 03:09

    This was an excellent read, if not a little morbid. Definitely recommended before and during a trip to the Grand Canyon as it gives a good insight into how tourists foolishly take for granted that nature can kill you. Plenty of stories and statistics that help you plan your journey better, especially in regards to the amount of water you need to take should you decide to do any hiking below the rim. Further, it demonstrates how easily one's common sense can disappear when facing one of the wonders of the world- people have fallen backwards down the canyon while trying to take photos of the lodge they were staying at!A very interesting read and one that might help save your life when going to any national park or wilderness area.

  • Frank
    2018-11-20 03:59

    A fascinating book about all of the known deaths in the Grand Canyon. Overall a good read though I struggle between giving it three stars or four stars. The good chapters are really good, even great. Sometimes however, the authors drag certain stories out or include long stories that don't result in death and they don't add to the book but may even detract from it. The longest chapter covering drownings in the Colorado river was for me the least interesting. The authors repeatedly gave the cubic feet per second that the water was flowing and I found it boring and unnecessary. The chapter covering suicides at the Grand Canyon surprised me the most because of the authors outdated views on suicide. They reinforce the old cliché of suicide being selfish, self-centered, and attention seeking. They even go as far to advise people if they are contemplating suicide not to do it in the Grand Canyon. To me it's like asking people not to have a heart attack in the Grand Canyon. Suicides like fatal heart attacks are the results of an illness. The good chapters and the painstaking research that went into this book kept it from being just mediocre and tipped it into the realm of a good book.

  • Julia
    2018-11-07 06:01

    I bought this in the gift shop at the Grand Canyon. I found it such a great book. The stories were very riveting and some of them quite sad. Perhaps the saddest ones were the deaths that could have easily been avoided. I think the huge tourist presence at the Grand Canyon gives people a sense of security that can give them false confidence and make them disregard the real dangers of traveling and hiking in and around the area. The book gave me a new respect for nature and reminded me that there's a reason 'be prepared' is the Boy Scout motto. Preparation, including knowing your surroundings well, can up your chances of survival!

  • Ted Haussman
    2018-11-14 06:23

    Well-written and researched and for some who fell in love with the Canyon and its grandeur at first sight, it was a great read. It is not great because of the gory details -- and there are plenty -- because of what it teaches you about survival generally and in the Canyon. Plus, the final chapter is a captivating one discussing the various murder mysteries that have bloomed from the Canyon and which may never been definitely settled.I learned much from my solo, overnight hike into Grand Canyon this past summer but I feel better prepared after reading this book for when I return, which will be soon.

  • Melinda
    2018-11-14 11:14

    Oh.My.Word!I'm always looking for books when we travel, picking up local histories and maps and such. This turned out to be one of the best travel books we've ever gotten. Grim, yes, but amazing nonetheless.After witnessing some incredibly stupid behavior while we were in Grand Canyon, behavior that thankfully did NOT result in a fatal fall, it was sobering to read about those who did fall and die. (or drown and die, or hike and die, or crash and die) There aren't alot of funny stories in this book, but there are an amazing number of well documented scenarios that should be required reading for anyone who wants to hike, raft, or even walk in Grand Canyon.Most deaths from falls are either suicides, or a result of jumping from rock to rock or walking off the trail. People who crawl under the rail to sit with their feet dangling off the edge of a 4000 foot drop, seem to become dizzy and lose their balance when they try to stand up. The authors speculate that they have no "near" objects to give them spatial balance, and thus they overbalance and fall. Most hiking deaths are the result of not taking enough water, hiking alone and not telling anyone where you are going, taking short cuts, or ignoring clear advice or warning from signs and rangers. (take water, stay on the trail, hike in groups, don't overestimate your physical ability! LISTEN TO THE RANGERS and do what they say!) A fascinating bit of history. The creation of the FAA came about because of a mid-air collision of two airliners over Grand Canyon in 1956. See the overlook where the planes came down (on the east side of the canyon) was sobering and frightening. Also interesting in this book are the perspectives shared by rangers in the park. After all, when someone is injured, they must be found and brought up out of the canyon for treatment. And when someone dies, their body must be retrieved. The mess and hassle of these search and rescue or search and retrieval endeavors is not for the squeamish. (note, when you fall 3000 to 4000 feet, you splatter like a watermelon) An interesting sign in Grand Canyon lists that in the summer, over 600 people are assisted by the rangers. 150 are helicoptered out. We found out that the cost for being brought up by mule from the canyon floor was about $700. (called "a drag out") I wonder how much the cost is for a helicopter rescue?

  • Laura Ruetz
    2018-11-12 08:29

    This was a fascinating read. It never delved into becoming morbid or graphic. The book is an accounting of how deadly the Grand Canyon has been over the years. Each death reads like an historical account, and goes into the reasons of the tragedy. Anybody who has seen the Grand Canyon knows the awestruck viewpoint of looking out across the rim. This is a fascinating look at the Canyon itself and what makes it so deadly. The facts of the incidents are clearly stated as well as what factors played into it.

  • Wendy
    2018-11-10 10:20

    "Forewarned, it is then up to the personal responsibility of each of us to avoid killing ourselves--and thereby also avoid tacitly accusing the wilderness of being our murderer... Forewarned enough, perhaps we and our vanishing wilderness will both survive."Five stars? Yes. Full disclosure: I'm a member of my local search & rescue organization. This may have influenced my rating just a tad. Uniformed people in the desert/mountains make up the majority of our calls, and I wish we could make them all read this.- First, this was the right book read at exactly the right time, that is, just days after a ten-day river trip down the Grand Canyon. - Second, because it's so thoroughly researched--not just the dates and events, but the authors' combined knowledge of the canyon, the river, search and rescue, medical first aid, even the effects of hot desert air on aircraft performance. - Third, it's addictive and uncomfortably compelling (notice I did not say literary. Though there may be a Barry Lopez quote in here somewhere worth memorizing). From the edge-of-seat near-rescue of a drunk woman walking the South Rim retaining wall, to a serial killer, to my personal favorite story about the 1927 honeymooners Glen & Bessie Hyde who nearly ran the whole river, then disappeared somewhere above Diamond Rapid (drowning? murder?), it's nearly impossible to stop reading until the end. Mainly because sleeping after putting this down practically guarantees nightmares. Every documented death in the Grand Canyon is included here: all 600+, some in novelistic detail and some in chart indexes at the end of each chapter. But also (wisely) included are stories of near misses, heroism, and happy outcomes. All is not dire. But somehow this makes for even more intense reading--will this person make it? Or not?- Fourth, and most importantly, it goes beyond being a grotesque curiosity book for morbid readers (guilty as charged) to actually serving its stated purpose of educating readers on the varied and sometimes not so obvious dangers of canyon country Does anyone outside of the Southwest think of flash floods as anything but an improbable, Hollywoodesque disaster?This is a must read for visitors to the Canyon, though you may think twice about your visit if you choose to read the book before the visit. It definitely helps to have a general familiarity with the area, though maps are included in front, and I kept a finger there so I could constantly flip back and forth. It may also help (though is not necessary) to know a little river jargon and wilderness first aid terminology. Absolutely necessary before even touching this book is the right attitude. Not just a desire for a scare-your-pants-off thrill, but the realization that there is a pattern of behavior behind many of these incidents that a modicum of respect for nature might have prevented. Don't ignore posted warnings. Don't get drunk on the river. Wear a lifejacket and don't ever enter a wash during a rainstorm in the desert. As the authors (a riverguide/ranger and an historian/MD) like to remind the reader, despite the word "park", the Grand Canyon is not Disneyland. It was not designed for the comfort and safety of humans.

  • Edward
    2018-11-04 05:10

    I would never have read this book had I not recently visited the Grand Canyon. Everyone knows the appearance of the Grand Canyon from photographs but to actually see it in person is an extraordinary experience. I wandered along the south rim for several days gazing into its depths at the incredible rock formations, and feeling my duration on earth insignificant in the scale of the many millions of yeas that the Canyon took to form.With such thoughts in mind when I came across this book, I was unable to resist it. Why would people not be unusually cautious in the midst of all this immensity of nature? People's perceptions vary, of course, but for the most part over the past century and a past they perished because of foolishness and ignorance. Most of the deaths could have been prevented.The book breaks down the types of deaths into ten categories. People have fallen off the rim, or from formations in the canyon, always due to carelessness - around a hundred of them. A lot of people have died from dehydration while hiking within the canyon. They just didn't realize how much liquid evaporated from their bodies and failed to drink enough water. These deaths are called "environmental" ones because of a lack of appreciation for the harsh surrounds, particularly in the summer when temperatures rise well above 100 degrees in the Canyon. Then there are flash floods which have trapped and drowned people, as well as drowning in the Colorado River which flows through the canyon, due to treacherous currents and rapids. Fewer in number are freak accidents from lightning storms and falling rocks. And fewest in number,, almost non-existent, are fatal bites from poisonous snakes and spiders. Finally, a few f suicides and homicides have been recorded. By far, though, and initially surprising most people (several hundred) have died in small plane crashes. The air in and over the canyon is highly unstable, both because of the difference in elevation between the rims (7000 to 9000 feet above sea level) and the river nearly a mile lower. This contributes to volatile updrafts and downdrafts as well as violent thunderstorms. Many inexperienced pilots have failed to take these conditions into account with predictably disastrous results.The authors emphasize that almost all the deaths are due to poor judgment and it's their hope that the book will result in people making better decisions. That's probably futile as I'd suspect that the people who make poor judgments are the ones who do the least planning, and of course reading this book is a form of precautionary planning. It's an interesting book to read; some of the accounts of how people died are harrowing, and just as harrowing, if not more so, are the rescue operations of the park rangers who have an additional duty to try to retrieve human remains of canyon fatalities. . The authors try to be inclusive, listing by name and date of demise at the end of each section, the victims of that form of death. Many of the descriptions become repetitive, but as the books' aim is to be complete, (through 2011) that's understandable.

  • Kathy
    2018-10-28 09:28

    Quotable:[P]osing for or taking photographs account for 6 and 4 victims (20 percent) of the 50 total victims of accidental lethal falls from the rim.Another fatal factor is nightfall. Six other victims – five of them males – fell at night while camping or walking alone. A possible culprit in many of these fatalities may be the male urge to urinate off high places combined with dizziness (and possibly alcohol consumption). Other male victims likely have fallen to their deaths from heights within the Canyon or into the river to drown, while urinating.As Canyon hiking expert and author George Steck puts it, “A solo hiker often has a fool for a companion.”[Charles] Myers’ decision to shortcut as established Canyon route was virtually a cookie-cut fatal error, a signature error made by the majority of young, solo male hikers in the Canyon who have ended up dying from Inner Canyon falls and/or dehydration and heat stroke. Shortcutting is the mother of all hiking errors.Bert Loper’s own words still ring down to us from his diary written while he was leading the 1922 U.S. Geological Survey trip down the Green River. Indeed, Loper’s words comprise the most succinct explanation for most boatmen’s decisions today to keep running the river. Right after portaging Hell’s Half Mile in Lodore Canyon, Loper wrote, “Who in the hell wants to be a white collar sissy when one can enjoy such grandeur and beauty such as this?”[M]ishaps are so common and so commonly lethal that unsuccessfully attempting to fly over the Canyon has killed more people than have died by drowning in the river, by falling off cliffs within the Canyon or from its rims, by being killed by flash floods, and by dying from heat combined. The airspace over the Grand Canyon region may be one of the most dangerous peacetime airspaces in the world.

  • Tracy St Claire
    2018-11-16 08:06

    This book is more interesting than it sounds. It lives up to its promise of detailing the details of every known death in the Grand Canyon since we have been keeping records, and relating when the parks department thought those records were not relevant and either did not collect them or threw them away.The strange thing about this book is the way the author(s) tried all through the book to draw statistical conclusions when the sample size was, even as a reader I could see, way to small to support something. Or comparing apples and oranges. I was pulled along in the book, at least partially, to see how far he would go with the statistics.Still, a compelling read with some common sense conclusions that are applicable to people in any circumstances. Always be aware of your surroundings. Take care of yourself and those who rely on you. Don't bite of more than you can chew. Always heed warning from authorities. Plan ahead more than a few steps or a few hours.

  • Michael
    2018-10-29 09:16

    Almost forgot to add this one to my Goodreads list.I was fortunate enough to visit Grand Canyon National Park in October of 2011 with friends. We hiked rim to rim over five days with a grand total of fifty plus miles hiked in temperatures ranging from over 100* on the second day of our hike to a low of 40* on the final morning when we reached the south rim. Snow was falling as we dropped our packs and headed for the nearest restaurant for the first good meal in five days.To impart a little wisdom to some who may choose to hike into the canyon I was not fully prepared. Blisters covered my feet after day one, my boots weren't broken in nearly enough and my pack was way, way too heavy. I DID learn to rely on friends, take PLENTY of water and above all...STAY ON THE TRAIL! I was fortunate enough to make it out of the canyon alive, but if I had chosen to do what some of those mentioned in this book had done I could have been nothing more than a statistic.Macabre is the draw here and those who have chosen to make their way down into and then back up out of the canyon alive may choose to say "There but for the grace of God go I...." after finishing this book. Well researched and facinating to read.

  • Jamie Collins
    2018-11-13 05:29

    An interesting book, and just as described: an accounting of every death in the Grand Canyon National Park between 1889 and the publication of this book in 2001. The authors are Ghiglieri, and experienced whitewater rafter and a former park river ranger; and Myers, an accomplished hiker and physician who treated many injuries received in the park.Each chapter is dedicated to a particular kind of fatality, and the book begins with the most interesting stuff. First there are the falls - like people just toppling over the freaking edge of the canyon. Then there are the heatstroke/dehydration deaths of ill-prepared hikers. Then flash floods, and drowning in the river, and then plane crashes - a surprising number of planes have crashed while flying over the canyon. After that we get the lesser numbers of deaths from freak accidents, suicides and murders.The book isn’t all about death: there are lots of stories of survivors, and heroic rescues, particularly in the section about river rafting.Along with detailed anecdotes, there are tables of cold data at the end of each chapter listing names, dates, cause of death for every casualty.

  • Rebecca
    2018-11-10 09:16

    While the topic of this book might seem morbid, it really is a fascinating and instructive set of essays on human behavior. Well-researched and engaging, this revised and updated edition recounts stories of what most often amount to tragic tales of sheer human stupidity.What really resonates most strongly is the authors' desire to communicate that the Grand Canyon is not some man-made, man-controlled theme park, but instead a heartbreakingly beautiful and very dangerous natural phenomenon, to be treated with reverence and caution.The final chapter on murder reads like a historical thriller, unearthing mysteries that have been embedded in the canyon for over a hundred years. But the authors never rely on sensationalism. Instead, they share eyewitness accounts and solid research that reveal many secrets of the canyon, only to show that there are many more buried below.

  • Karen
    2018-11-05 07:06

    I bought this book back in 2011 when my family and I went on an Auto Club Rails-to-the-Rim Grand Canyon vacation. It took me awhile to finish this book but it was so worth it. Death, death and more death! Well, actually there were many stories where no one died. I was fascinated with these deathly tidbits especially the ones dealing with falling from the rim into the canyon. I also really enjoyed the last chapter on murder at the canyon. I paused several times to look up most of them on the internet so I could read more about them. This book was extremely interesting and disturbing all at the same time. I loved it!

  • Kevin Garnica
    2018-10-24 04:25

    This book is surprisingly interesting because it is not just a catalog list of every person who has fallen over the edge, but because every death is recounted like a miniature story. The book is a gripping account of all known fatal mishaps in the most famous of the World's Seven Natural Wonders.It is also somewhat humorous because you get an insight as to the lack of intelligence of some people. Seriously, some tourists simply don't have any common sense. If anyone related to someone who has died in the Grand Canyon is reading this, I hereby express my condolences for your loss and their stupidity...

  • Jann
    2018-11-17 04:18

    Yikes! Emily and Rory brought this back from Grand Canyon NP as a souvenir for David. Now that I've read it I might be too scared to go. This was mostly a fascinating read. It's an account of recorded deaths that have occurred at GCNP with the hope that people will learn from other's mistakes. I only gave it three stars because sometimes it gets a little too detailed for the purpose of the book. Maybe if I'd been there in the exact places the authors are talking about I would care more about the extreme detail.Recommend: 16+

  • Elizabeth
    2018-11-19 07:14 more book in 2015! Pretty fascinating, titillating read of survival, death, and everything in between. From the mid-1800s to just a few years ago, every imaginable type of disaster has occurred. The most intriguing story was of Glen and Bessie Hyde, honeymooners in the 30s who tried to set a rafting record on the Colorado River....both disappeared mysteriously, but really mourns abound about their fate. Great read for this AZ vacation, and a reminder that life is wonderfully dangerous and surprisingly wild.

  • John Griesenauer
    2018-11-12 03:59

    A fascinating book cataloging and detailing deaths which have occurred in one of the seven wonders of the world - the Grand Canyon. It does an excellent job of investigating the "whats" and "whys" of what occurred to people who have gotten themselves killed while visiting the canyon. An excellent read for anyone who has ever been to the canyon and wondered, "how many people have fallen here?". Not morbid but it actually gives insight into why people are injured or killed while visiting one of the last virtually undeveloped areas in North America.

  • Merrick
    2018-11-20 08:21

    After visiting the canyon and seeing some stupid tourist take some very stupid risks I wondered how many people have died for the sake of a good picture. This book was a very compelling. It chronicled every recorded death in the canyons from falls over the rim to murders. Some of the chapters got a bit tedious but overall I really enjoyed reading this book. I especially loved the amazing stories of survival they included.

  • Leslie
    2018-10-25 03:22

    In preparation for visiting the Grand Canyon next month, I decided to read this book. I'm glad I did. And not just because I will be sure to stay away from the cliff edge now. The authors have a great respect for the Grand Canyon and want readers to also. The awe and majesty of the canyon are revealed. As is the stupidity of some humans. I found it fascinating.

  • Michelle
    2018-10-31 09:22

    Thorough and fascinating book on those have perished in Grand Canyon. The book gives you an incredible sense of place and a healthy respect for the vastness of the beautiful natural wonder. It's a must read for anyone considering a trip there or anywhere in the many canyons of the American southwest. It just might save your life!

  • ~☆~Autumn♥♥
    2018-11-08 09:10

    I have been to the Grand Canyon twice and I am glad I read this book AFTER I got back. I did not realize how dangerous it is there. I can't believe anyone would hike there in summer during the monsoon season as its just too dangerous. I read about some very expert hikers who died. Those who want to hike during the monsoon should read about The Big Thompson.