Monday, June 21, 2010

Waterfall Warning

Two weeks ago, I removed this post almost immediately after publishing it when I learned not one, but two people had died in recent waterfall accidents. I didn't want to come across as flippant and cold in the face of the families' grief. Quite the opposite. I ache over these deaths, which is why I continue to write about the dangers involving these beautiful attractions.

Numerous others also strive to educate others on this particular danger. Rich Stevenson keeps a clear warning on his website, 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...

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.
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.


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.

Please.

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.

www.ncwaterfalls.com
www.ncwaterfalls.com/horse1.htm
www.ncwaterfalls.com/elk1.htm

Our hearts and prayers go out to the families of the victims. May they be the last.

2 comments:

Julie said...

I did not know about the deaths, and I am so sorry. Thank you for publishing this, Kimberli. I don't think anyone would say it is flippant or cold. It is such an important subject, and many people do not take the warnings seriously.

For that matter, I remember commenting on a different post of yours about how my husband and daughter get too close to mountain edges, and it scares me to death. I was probably being my usual "haha" silly self in that comment, and I apologize if I was. Even though I was afraid of their actions, I didn't fully comprehend the danger.

Thank you again for the warning. I will heed it and make sure my loved ones do, too.

Kimberli said...

Hi Julie and thanks. I remember that comment, and didn't think you were flippant, so no apology is needed. I was concerned someone may have thought the original opening to this blog post--in which I implied a warning sign at one of the accident sites may not have helped as one person suggested--may have sounded cold to those who didn't know my heart. Out of respect for the families, I withdrew the post for a time, and revised the opening.

So you're good! Thanks for stopping by, and again, your recent blog post was amazing. So realistic, I was certain you were facing dismissal. I was blown away when I found out it was fiction. You really need to write a novel! (or a tell-all ;)

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