The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 11, 2013

Pondering deaths along Yosemite path


On a universal “No Swimming” sign — a swimmer inside a circle with a line slashed across him — someone had tried to rub out the slash.

When Nevada Fall came into view, its plumes seemed to freeze-frame in bright white clouds. The water free-falls for the first third of the way before hitting a ledge and billowing up, like a snowy avalanche.

On the day Kalman died, a joint group of three Slavic churches, some 85 people, were relaxing near a footbridge about 150 feet above the fall, according to authorities.

Kalman was on a boulder in the river with another swimmer. The two jumped in to swim back. One made it; Kalman didn’t.

On this day, two National Park Service employees were moving quickly down the trail, dodging hikers. When tourists asked them what they were doing, their stock answer was “preventative safety measures.”

It isn’t their job to police the river. One said he didn’t think it should be.

“How do you decide what is safe for who and when?” he asked. “This is wilderness and people are free to make their own choices.”

He moved down the mountain on his real task — searching for Kalman’s body.


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