A Minnesota man who had been enjoying day hikes in Yosemite National Park died in a fall along the Mist Trail in the park's iconic valley.
According to a park release, Kenneth Stensby, 73, of Edina, Minnesota, had been in Yosemite for several days, staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel and setting out every morning for some hiking. Each morning he would leave a note detailing his plans with the hotel's concierge. On Sunday he had planned to hike to the top of the Mist Trail and return to the hotel by mid-day. When he didn't return Sunday evening, the hotel alerted park authorities.
The Mist Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the Yosemite Valley. Its path leads up along the Merced River where it tumbles practically straight down into the valley, first off Nevada Fall, and then off Vernal Fall. It can be quite dangerous due to the close proximity of the river and its swift waters and hikers' ability to walk right out to the river in places.
On Sunday evening park rangers discovered Mr. Stensby's backpack near the guardrail at the top of 317-foot Vernal Fall.
On Monday, the park conducted a full scale search-and-rescue operation, including multiple ground teams, a dog team, and a California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter. The search area was concentrated around the Mist Trail. There was intermittent rain throughout the day, resulting in difficult search conditions.
The CHP helicopter, concurrently with ground teams, spotted Mr. Stensby's body around 6 p.m. Monday, but they weren't able to remove the man's body until Tuesday around 1 p.m., the park reported.