Three people are missing, and presumed dead, after visitors to Yosemite National Park reported seeing them swept into the 371-foot Vernal Falls Tuesday.
The hikers, believed to be two men and a woman, reportedly ignored warning signs and climbed over a barrier to get a better view of the falls, KTLA reports.
At least eight people have died at the park this year. From the Associated Press comes this sad line:
Record snowfall has created spectacular waterfalls in the park, but it’s a treacherous beauty. Visitors often underestimate the force of water, and the mist from waterfalls creates slippery conditions on trails.
Thanks to John Muir and Ansel Adams, it is one of the most well-known and beloved parks in the U.S. It’s also one of the most crowded. Even as the park has worked to limit the number of visitors with reserved permits, citizen groups are pushing to end the practice and open up trails to more visitors.
A new map put out by the American Trauma Society also shows that the park is in a white “danger” zone, far from access to advanced hospital trauma care.
It is a dangerous place, perhaps, but one worth knowing. I spent much of my childhood traipsing through the valleys and along the mountainsides of Yosemite. I hope the hikers are found, and in the meanwhile, I’ll stick to the magical. Here’s the park as I’d like to think of it: