View the story "Safe hiking in Southern California" on Storify] Safe hiking in Southern California
Molly Peterson· Fri, Apr 05 2013 14:41:10 Five more hikers needed rescue fromEaton Canyon Friday. Two hikers in Trabuco Canyon are recovered. A 17-year-oldgirl's friends memorialized her last Saturday. Just the way it is?
Seems like as soon as we rescue one group of hikers, another one gets lost. 5 hikers just reported missing in Eaton Canyon.William Fritz
my story on Eaton Canyon aired last week,I was at a birthday party. A friend's husband, not a teenager, he's got a Ph.D.in robotics, turned to me and the first thing he said was: "So how DO youget to the second waterfall?"
By the next morning, Altadena Search and Rescuewas out there again. Just today another group of five hikers was rescued.
Father of Glendale woman missing is glad his daughter has been found #EatonCanyon #missing #hikers http://pic.twitter.com/UDoSpVf5LHRaul Roa
Stories about a public hazard seem to raisequestions about whether journalistic scrutiny is itself a compounding hazard.In other words, does talking about it make it worse?
@nprnews The highly romanticized story of the hike to the 2nd waterfall at Eaton Canyon only increased the curiosity of certain listeners.Hanna Storlie
By profession, of course, I believe not. I likethe way Tom Stoppard put it in Night and Day: "Information, in itself,about anything, is light."
In a way that wasn't true when I was a kid, information iseverywhere. Anyone with a computer can find the way to the second waterfall,and find the way around the hardest parts up. On youtube, hikers make videos ofthemselves with phones, and those videos are popular.
Eaton Canyon Falls Second Waterfall Jumpmegb2311
Eaton Canyon, second waterfall, lets get wet.Nate Blaikie
Scaling the rock face to the second waterfall at Eaton Canyon.nonvisi79
17-year-old Esther Suen's friends hadn't yeteven gathered to remember her when I went up there Wednesday afternoon. It wasmy first time. I knew it was an easy hike, but I wore hiking shoes and dressedin layers. I carried water, and snacks, and a cell phone battery...and ofcourse, all my recording gear...in a pack on my back. I felt underprepared (Ihad no map or GPS capability) but then I looked around.
Just like Natalie Lindeman told me, Converse shoes ruled theday. When I got to the first falls, families were camped out at the firstfalls. I saw open sandals. I saw Keds without socks. Graffiti lined the canyonwalls near the end of the trail. Trash was everywhere. Flaming hot Cheetos wereespecially popular. And yes, people had beers.
Dear LA People, Maybe let's not hike in thickly forested canyons. http://bit.ly/16BVYA8Gem
It didn't look like pristine nature; it didn't even feel likewell-trodden nature, like trails at Yosemite. The prevailing mood was likesomeone's backyard. I like seeing people getting comfortable with theirenvironment. I get depressed seeing them abuse it. It makes me anxious to watch them ignoring the environment'sperils.
Forest service rangers, county parks staffers,sheriffs and rescue teams all know this is happening. Which is why they
went to youtube last summer with their PSA.Didn't matter. People see what they want to see, and they'd rather see acrystal clear waterfall than a terrifying rescue off a hillside.
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Air Rescue V-24 .movsheriffairrescue
MOUNTAIN RESCUE @ EATON CANYON. PART 2.albe626
Natalie Lindeman doesn't regret her risk. Sheis young, and in love:
she's self-aware enough to have written a story about falling intwo ways, around the same time, for the New York Times' Modern Love column.But that doesn't mean that she'd wear the same shoes next time.
It's human nature to acclimate to risk, to normalize it, toignore or overlook that which is difficult or doesn't fit with what we want tosee. What Natalie Lindeman said to me was that it's teenage human nature,especially, to explore, to test limits, to seek.
But I don't believe we're powerless over human nature. I don'tbelieve Natalie Lindeman was saying that, either. We struggle with our nature,and we seek to balance our risks. We do that in Trabuco Canyon and EatonCanyon, and we do that in deciding if there should be signs warning of hazards,and in deciding who should pay for hiker rescues. The struggle is the story,and it does not end.