Without any warning, his memory then took him back to that fateful day in his youth, three decades ago. Like today, it had been also a brilliant summer day. He was guiding a group of foreign tourists from Europe and Asia through the passages of one such narrow canyon, also called a slot canyon, built mainly of sandstone and limestone. In addition, he was also helping them to find the correct corners to capture the beauty of the place in light and shadow with their cameras. Outside, the sky as seen through the opening at the top, was clear and blue with no trace of any threatening rain cloud. And that’s when, everyone heard a loud distant noise. Though startled, the group moved forward, inching upwards. However, the intensity of the noise started to magnify, soon changing it to the sound of a downward rolling thunder. Looking upward, all saw as if a huge locomotive engine was coming downhill in full speed and in no time, the mass hit them with a violent force. In reality, it was a flash flood formed from a torrential downpour into a canyon basin and flooding it, ten kilometers away. Finding its way downward, the body of water picked up loose boulders and broken branches of trees to strengthen its force of destruction. Growing up in the area and having the experience of swimming in downhill swift water, Chief Flying Eagle was able to survive the calamity, while all eleven tourists that he was in charge of, perished that day.
With advancement of modern technology in predicting suddenly developing weather patterns over a narrow region, the entrance points of all these narrow canyons have now been equipped with gathering latest information directly from the National Weather Service. But, that’s no solace to Chief Flying Eagle. As he continued to watch the live game on his modern gadget, the face of each smiling tourist from that day started to flash on his mind.