Walking / Hiking, Yosemite National Park
It never fails. Despite the preponderance of warning signs and barriers all around Lower Yosemite Falls, we never fail to see people climbing all over the boulders at the bottom of the falls, even in the winter. This year was no exception, people were still trying to get as close to the falls as possible, even though the boulders were covered with ice and snow. Not my cup of tea.
I didn't realize I was afraid of height until I visited Yosemite. If you are into hiking like me, watch out for slippery spots. Given the dramatic elevation change in the Park, any slip can be life-threatening.
The attached photo was taken from the top of Yosemite Falls. The bird's-eye view was brilliant. Just don't fall off the edge or you will travel 2,425 feet in the air and return to the Valley in seconds.
On our second trip, we camped in the park and our family (myself, husband and two girls age 5 and 3) walked up the Mist Trail to see Vernal Falls. The trail was wet from the mist. On the way down, I slipped on the wet moss and fell forward down the trail. My oldest daughter was in front of me and I fell right on top of her, mashing her face into the rocks. She was skinned all down the front of her face - forehead, nose, upper lip and chin. But the worse was - her two front teeth were knocked loose and one was chipped.
She was very brave and didn't cry much, but I felt really awful. The scabs healed eventually, but her front teeth turned black. Fortunately, they were her baby teeth and within a year or so she lost them and the permanent ones came in OK.
The danger presented by cliffs is obvious. Be extremely careful and watch small children around cliff edges. Falls from 3000 feet will kill you. Do not swim in pools above waterfalls. This again may seem obvious but every year people die by being swept over waterfalls in Yosemite. Do not climb on boulders below waterfalls. Wet boulders are extremely slippery. Also always stay on established trails. As employees, we constantly heard stories of someone who wandered off trail and had rocks crumble beneath their feet causing them to fall, sometimes just several feet but more often several hundred feet.
Spring and Summer rivers are overflowing from melted snow. Stay away from rivers during high waters. No rock hopping since rocks can get slippery.
Always be careful crossing natural bridges.