The Grim Reaper Report: National Park deaths

I have noticed an uptick in people who find this blog with searches for people who die in various national parks or as dinner for a shark or grizzly bear. Y’all are clearly a morbid, bloodthirsty bunch. This morning, these searches found this blog:

Searching for dead people

As a public service, for those of you with morbid curiosity wasting time looking for information on people who have died in National Parks and how, here’s where you need to go:

Yellowstone deaths

This bear in Yellowstone did not eat us as we stayed a long way away. If you surprise a bear with cubs, you can expect to be dispatched to the hereafter. Note the grainy picture which denotes long distance away from danger.

 

Yosemite deaths

3 people just died here. We didn't, but we stayed behind the rails.

Zion National Park deaths

This is why people die on Angel's Landing. It's 1200 feet off to one side and 900 on the other. I'm not insane enough to climb this, but Troy was. He's alive.

Grand Canyon deaths

Death Valley National Park deaths

Mount Ranier National Park deaths

Great Smoky Mountain National Park deaths/statistics

People die in Great Smoky Mountain National Park every year. Mostly because they are stupid. Waterfalls are dangerous.

 

Acadia National Park

Joshua Tree National Park

Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Channel Islands National Park

Biscayne National Park

The water at Biscayne National Park is crystal clear. You can drown here or be eaten by a shark. According to Troy, who has to my knowledge, never set a toe in the ocean.

Big Bend National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

I did not drown, fall off a waterfall or get eaten by a mountain lion in Rocky Mountain National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Troy hiked all 19+ miles of this trail in Grand Teton without dying

Badlands National Park (click on the compendium for details by year)

The Badlands are named that way for a reason. Troy survived it. Because he's not an idiot and took water and knew where he was. Also because I was not there for him to argue with about which way to go.

Canyonlands National Park

Just past the arch is a drop of over 1500 feet. Don't go to the edge and pose.

Haleakala National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Sequoia National Park

Kings Canyon National Park

Denali National Park

Sadly, there’s no statistics kept on who had it coming. Darwinism may be at work in many of the deaths.

For those of you even more determined to track down who met their fate in the form of being dinner for a wild animal, here you go:

Mountain lion attacks

Black bear attacks

These baby bears are adorable. Mom is pissed off. We stayed a respectful distance away.

Grizzly bear attacks

Polar bear attacks

Shark attacks

Killer bee attacks

Snake bite deaths

You’re welcome.

Big, freakin’ trees – Upper Mariposa Grove

Texas is always arguing that everything is bigger in Texas. Suck it, Texas. California has you beat by a mile.

Big freakin' tree

Seriously, these are big-ass trees. The kind that make you say Holy Sweet Baby Jesus when you see them.

I would sweat bullets in an ice storm living below these

I don’t know why I am writing a post about trees. Except they are huge.

100 feet up, the first branches.

The best place to see them in my opinion is Upper Mariposa Grove in Yosemite. Fair warning: the hike is hard, steep and long and it’s over 6500 feet in elevation so you’ll suck wind 100 feet into the hike. It’s the kind of hike that makes you question why you started in the first place. After the Grizzly Giant tree, you won’t see hardly anyone on the trail. Because it sucks to hike that steep a trail. Jean’s Pain rating: 7 out of 10 for steepness, lack of oxygen and the occasional old lady with a hiking stick who makes you look bad.

Troy hiding in a sequoia tree

Yosemite Bingo: Passenger Fun

Traveling is frequently very annoying. Traffic, crowds, weather issues – they can all totally screw up an otherwise pleasant trip. It is my lot in life to ride shotgun as I am never the one driving and I suffer extensively as the perpetual passenger. Troy complains that I am way too aggressive behind the wheel (doubtful) and that he is the sensible one (this from the man who would scream at someone holding a rocket launcher for cutting him off). Apparently, I must have been drunk* when Troy and I married because I missed the part in the vows to always let Troy drive. But I digress.

For those moments when life sucks in the passenger’s seat, I invented National Park bingo. Playing is easy. Print your card and observe.  Mark off the spaces as you see the items in question. When you get an entire row, casually lean over and then yell loudly in your husband’s ear “Bingo!”  When playing solo, you win when your husband nearly drives off the road so you can lecture him about his lack of driving acumen.

Your bingo card:

 

 

All of these things can be found at Yosemite National Park

Happy hunting.

* It was Vegas. And also, I was drunk.

 

 

Another day in paradise: Sequoia National Park and King’s Canyon

It just wouldn’t be a Harrison vacation unless the weather sucked and in keeping with tradition, this year’s California trip did not disappoint. Or, actually, it did disappoint, and the weather sucked. While Tennessee baked mercilessly in 100 degree heat, northern California could not buy a ray of sunshine. Troy and I detoured from Yosemite for a day to see the giant sequoias that populate the aptly-named Sequoia National Park. Sadly, they were hard to see.

A canopy of giant trees or the poster for the next Twilight movie: Sequoia shrouded in fog.

Giant sequoias are giant. It’s hard to define giant until you’re standing next to it. Rest assured, these are big fucking trees. Even if the fog was so heavy you couldn’t really see them.

Troy standing inside a fallen sequoia at Grant's Grove in King's Canyon National Park.

Perhaps you missed the white stuff on the ground. They call it snow. In June.

General Grant Tree. In snow. In June. Guess that's why it's called the Nation's Christmas Tree.

I desperately wanted to make a snow ball and hit Troy in the face but he said if I did, he would wrestle me to the ground and shove snow down my cleavage and then I would be really wet and cold.  Having some experience in ignoring threats like this to my peril, discretion won out and I stayed (reasonably) dry. Every giant tree is named after a Union general or other Yankee. I suppose this is because the trees were set aside during Lincoln’s tenure, but it could also be because Yankee generals really wanted to have something long and giant named after them to make up for other shortcomings. Sequoias have really soft, spongy bark and they make crappy wood for building anything because it splinters. Lincoln had to save them from wholesale slaughter because, even though they could really only be used to make pencils, our ancestors had the social conscience of fleas and would have cut them down to make mulch because they could. I am amazed sometimes that we survive as a species despite ourselves.

Troy and I at the world's biggest tree (General Sherman) which we could not really see and now neither can you. This is a crappy vacation picture to be sure.

We finally decided to drive to the far side of King’s Canyon National Park and were rewarded with sunshine and warmer temperatures. We saw no one. This has to be the most deserted park we’ve been to. This would have been a totally awesome place to see Bigfoot, but I was again denied. No ‘squatch for Jean this trip. Just a waterfall:

Grizzly Falls, Kings Canyon National Park. I don't know why they call it that. They have no grizzlies here.

Yosemite: The Uphill Death March

Yosemite is a beautiful place. Waterfalls, lush meadows, young European men on holiday- it’s a feast for the eyes. The most famous of hikes in this very famous national park is known as The Mist Trail. Aside from the insane climb to the top of Half Dome, the Mist Trail was the trail Troy wanted to hike. I do not understand what it is about my very competitive nature that mandates that I attempt to kill myself following Troy on hikes I have no business doing, but there was no way in hell I was not going to go.

To begin with, the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls climbs about 1000 feet or so over one-and-a-half miles.  Simple math shows this is pain in the making. It’s short, but steep, and at the end, it’s evil. Steps carved straight into the granite cliffs next to the Merced River which tumbles over Vernal Falls.

There's a happy rainbow to cheer you as you break your ass on the granite steps

Vernal Falls is pretty:

Vernal Falls

Had I only been less stubborn, I would have stopped here at the footbridge looking over the Merced River up to Vernal Falls:

The Merced River

I was not smart enough to stop here. As usual. It will be days before I can walk without pain. As usual.

Real men of genius: Yosemite dancing man

Yosemite is pretty awesome for people watching as you have this odd amalgamation of Europeans who seriously hike, Japanese tourists who seriously take pictures, old people on tours, American families on summer vacation and so on. You do get to meet some odd characters. Today, I salute you, Mr. Yosemite Dancing Man. It takes gigantic balls or a complete lack of shame to dance at your own personal rave without any music for the rest of us to hear at a very busy bus stop. Sure, the bus was packed and all, but you didn’t let a lack of room or the terror of little old ladies who were afraid you might fling your sweat in their direction stop your awesome groove, you just kept right on dancing next to the driver. I’m not sure what awesome drugs you were taking to rave out like that on a random Thursday afternoon, but your excellent dance moves earn you a huge shout out. Rave on my friend, rave on.