At Dreamland Safari Tours, safety is our top priority – for our guests and guides alike. All of our guides have current first aid certification, and most are wilderness first responders (WFRs). Guides are trained to assess guests to make sure they are properly prepared for their specific hike: the right clothing for the conditions—check. Appropriate shoes for the terrain—check. Enough water—check. We always carry plenty of extra water, salty snacks, hydration tabs, and cooling towels to keep our guests fueled, cool, and safe.
On the hike, our guides moderate the pace to match the group’s overall ability level, check in frequently with each guest, and ensure that everyone is hydrating and eating enough calories to maintain health and safety throughout the excursion. Every tour vehicle has a “safety kit,” and each guide carries a first aid kit and an inReach GPS device to communicate in case of an emergency. Additionally, our office staff and guides are trained by our Director of Guide Training to address most potential issues, whether it’s the weather, a medical incident, or objective dangers like flash floods or rock fall.
One recent decision we made was to discontinue our Great Chamber Tour due to two instances of rockfall while we had guests and guides in the alcove. The Great Chamber is a wind-carved feature and subject to the constant battery of nature’s forces. Frequent visits to the area provide evidence that active seams along the ceiling regularly deposit new debris right into the center of the chamber, some of it including microwave size blocks. While the alcove is a beautiful and spectacular location, the same geological features that make it such a magnet for photographers also funnel dangerous rock falls directly into the main tour area, greatly increasing the chances of mishap, injury, or worse.
We know how to manage and address risks in the backcountry. That’s why we offer backpacking trips in Buckskin Gulch; it’s why we frequently are able to access the trailhead for the Wave even under the most challenging conditions; and it’s why we pride ourselves in providing safe experiences to guests in areas that may lie far beyond your daily comfort zone. That’s why we also know that, with the Great Chamber, there is only one way for us to manage the completely random yet concentrated rockfall risk for you, our guests, and our guides: we have to avoid exposure to it. As much as we have enjoyed showcasing this amazing location in the past, we take safety very seriously, and this is why, on occasion, it’s an easy decision to discontinue a tour like the Great Chamber when the risks outweigh the benefits.