May 7th, 2013 by Jake Richardson
Additional dog teams have been called in to help search for a missing hiker in Yosemite National Park. A 73-year-old man was hiking on the Mist Trail leading to Vernal Fall and has not been seen for some time. His day pack was found above the fall near a railing.
In 2011, three hikers were swept into the Merced River and plunged over the Vernal Fall by the swift-moving, cold water. There are about 1,500 hikers every day to the Fall which is hundreds of feet high. It is a very rare chance to get up close to a breathtaking natural phenomenon, and it is exciting. Yet the excitement that draws so many, can also be something the disrupts their better judgement causing them to want to get too close.
Some of the people that ignore warning signs are also from outside the area and are unfamiliar with the strength of the rushing water so if they get in it, they are startled and may panic. Panic usually causes us to make very poor decisions and therefore increase the chances of injury or death.
The same year the three hikers died, a woman fell to her death after trying to descend from Half Dome. There were warning signs in that situation as well, but visitors to nationals parks are often very unaware of these new environments and their hazards, so they don’t understand they could be injured or die.
In 2010, about 15 people died in Yosemite. Generally, the annual average is about a dozen.
Many of these deaths could be prevented if visitors exercised more caution. Yosemite’s natural beauty is often very inspiring, but it can cause some individuals to lose their better judgement.
Being informed before taking trips to national parks, can be the difference between life or death.
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