www.ncwaterfalls.com. Author Kevin Adams includes them in his books and on his website. Warnings are listed on brochures and in field guides, and in many places, signs are posted along trails. Yet every year, someone dies on a waterfall.
Two years ago, I wrote a post specifically covering this danger. The link is on the right. Carolina Towns and Trails has received over 20,000 page views since I published that warning, yet only 119 people have accessed that particular post.
The warnings are out there, but they're often ignored. Why? Perhaps because we trust our own judgment. But as I often tell people, when you're in the great outdoors, you're playing by nature's rules, not your own. Rule number one about waterfalls?
They're beautiful, but they can be deadly.
Yet people still take risks. Last week, a visitor left a telling comment on my Laurel Falls blog post. This was after the two recent deaths, and in spite of signs clearly posted along the trail. I shuddered when I read it:
Anonymous said...It echoed the comment someone left a couple years earlier. I can easily imagine what these people encountered. We had a similar experience during our visit.
I couldn't agree more. We just returned from the falls and I could not believe how careless people are with their children. I could not imagine taking my 3 year old on this trail, yet there were children just old enough to walk left dangerously close to the edge of rocks. As I attempted to cool off, I went off to the side (away from the other tourists) to have a cigarette. I fully intended to take the butt back down with me. One young girl who I had watched walk away from an infant in her care near the edge of the falls asked me to put my cigarette out because there were children nearby. I did, but I was outraged that cigarette smoke was more concerning than a fall of the side of a mountain. It feels good to know others felt the same.
The waterfall is just below the edge of the rocks.
Please remember, whether you're on a trail or visiting a waterfall, whenever you're experiencing the great outdoors, YOU are responsible for your safety. Be prepared and exercise extreme caution. Playing near the edges of cliffs, wet or dry, is dangerous. Keep back. Climbing on boulders, wet or dry, is likewise dangerous. Don't trust your wisdom, knowledge or experience. Find and follow the experts' advice.
If you've stumbled on this blog searching for information on the breathtaking cascades hidden in the Blue Ridge Mountains, please take a moment and read A Word of Warning about Waterfalls.
For more information on the recent deaths, please see Rich Stevenson's message on the following websites. Yes, this is so important, he posted it on three pages.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. May they be the last.