July 23, 2013

Dying for Beauty

The Wave (Wikimedia Commons)
You have heard of the Darwin Awards. I propose the Everett Ruess Award.

Ruess was a young California artist who sought inspiration in the southern Utah canyonlands beginning in 1931, nearly dying of dehydration at least once, before he disappeared for good in 1934. "Beauty" was one of his favorite words.

Lately the fatal lure is a rock formation called the Wave. Three people have died this month hiking to and from it.
The Wave is a richly colored geological upheaval, its fiery swirls emblazoned on postcards, posters, maps and computer screensavers. It is said to be one of the most photographed spots in North America.
Ironically, you have to apply for a permit to hike there, it is so popular.
Half of the 20 daily permits are doled out on a walk-in basis at a visitor's center in Kanab, with up to 100 people showing up for each one. For many, it's a lifetime opportunity that can encourage risk-taking during the hottest time of the year.

No comments: