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article imageTwo hikers perish in Yosemite National Park

By Gar Swaffar     May 16, 2011 in Environment
Two hikers have lost their lives in separate incidents in Yosemite National Park on Friday, the thirteenth. Weather conditions are partly to blame.
In separate incidents last Friday, two hikers lost their footing in Yosemite National park and fell to their deaths.
Professor Kent Scott Butler of the University of Texas fell while hiking the Misty Trail, which was both very wet and very slippery from the recent snow melt. As reported in the local news professor Butler was crossing one of several granite slabs when he slipped and fell into the Merced River. He then became lodged in the rocks and drowned. The Merced River at this time of year is running both very strong and extremely cold.
In a separate incident, another hiker, James Dunbar fell to his death while running down Upper Yosemite Fall Trail. Having personally hiked that trail on several occasions, this reporter would suggest most sections of Upper Yosemite Fall Trail are moderately to very steep. Running down the trail is a recipe for disaster. Mr. Dunbar as reported by Park Spokesman Scott Gediman in the Modesto Bee suffered serious head trauma.
These are the first two deaths reported in 2011, there are 12-15 deaths in Yosemite every year. The rugged landscape of Yosemite and the bitterly cold temperatures of the Merced River contribute to the bulk of the deaths each year.
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