This might be the most valuable book I’ve read in years. Authors Ghigleri and Farabee examined every death that had occurred up until print time in Yosemite. Having been to Yosemite, I can understand why people check their brains at the gate of the park and take chances that they normally would not take outside the park.The beauty of the park is so overwhelming. It does not matter in which direction you turn; more and more sights delight and intoxicate. It is this intoxication that is so fatal.
When I was young, I learned survival guidelines from my father. I’m not sure how he came by this knowledge, since he was an uber city boy from Brooklyn. As I read this chilling book, I could see the fatal errors made by the dead campers, hikers and adventurers. One point the authors made was that in survival situations, children made better decisions than adults. I have come to realize that I have fallen into the trap of believing that I can get myself out of most situations. I have a cell phone in my pocket. The EMTs are at my beck and call. That rutting whitetail deer won’t hurt me. He’s Bambi. Wow. How did I get to this level of denial about Nature?
Ghigleri and Farabee’s book Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite is a fascinating and important read for everyone, not just campers. In this world of reality programming and other staged media stunts, this book’s stark reality is a sharp and cold contrast.