Yesterday afternoon, two young Southern California boys on a vacation with their family drowned after they slipped into the cold Merced River near the Vernal Fall Footbridge. Even though water levels are low in August, deep holes and caves can trap a body. The boys were playing in the water and slipped on the smooth surface of the rocks. They were sent downstream by the current. One boy was pulled out by bystanders and given CPR but not be revived. The body of the younger boy has not been found.
The footbridge leads to the Mist Trail for access to Vernal and Nevada Fall and the John Muir Trail. It is a popular easy day hike, less than an hour from the Valley. The trail is paved and there is a water fountain and toilet at the bridge.
The family began their hike at the Happy Isle Trailhead and stopped at the footbridge. Access to the river is easy, but the banks can be slippery. The trail remains open while the search for the younger boy continues. Be prepared for some disruption as recovery crews do their work. Often bodies are not found for months in this stretch of the Merced.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Let children walk with Nature, let them see the beautiful blendings and communions of death and life, their joyous inseparable unity, as taught in woods and meadows, plains and mountains and streams of our blessed star, and they will learn that death is stingless indeed, and as beautiful as life.” – John Muir
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com