Drowning suspected in hiker death

By Wang Linyan in San Francisco | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-08-07 11:30

A Chinese woman whose body was recently found in Yosemite National Park might have drowned while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, according to park officials. Investigation results are expected to be released this week.

Wang Chaocui, 27, was last seen by other hikers on July 17. Her body was recovered from a river in Kerrick Canyon late last month.

Wang, also known as Tree, had lived in Shanghai before quitting her job to fulfill her dream of hiking the iconic Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,600-mile route that runs along the West Coast and draws thousands of long-distance hikers each year, according to Chinese media reports.

She was found about a half mile downstream of a trail crossing. It is unknown if she had moved downstream or upstream from the trail before trying to cross, according to statements posted on the hikers' Facebook group.

"She was a sweetheart. She always had such an amazing attitude and smile," said a hiker under the name "Rhaven" in a comment posted on Rhaven said they climbed Forester Pass - the highest point of the trail - together four weeks earlier.

Drowning suspected in hiker death

Another hiker "cantor0101" said the reason why she was alone was probably because "she had made it through the heart of the Sierras and was almost out of the really treacherous stuff".

"I have no idea if there was friction between her and her hiking mates or what, but it seems like she thought she could make it," said Cantor0101. "It was a seemingly small decision that had delayed consequences."

This winter's heavy precipitation had swollen rivers and obscured some segments of the Pacific Crest Trail with snow, making summertime hikes on the route more treacherous than usual.

Stories have been reported that some hikers slipped into fast creeks and were swept away by the current.

Only a week prior to Wang's death, the body of a Japanese tourist who was hiking the trail was found in a river in Kings Canyon National Park.

The body of 32-year-old Rika Morita was found on July 23 submerged in the south fork of the Kings River at the 3,000-meter level of the park.

In late May, Marvin Novo, of Turlock, California, died while hiking near Whitewater Preserve. He was 58 and had been planning his PCT hike for at least a decade. It is suspected that his death was heat related, according to a post at the Pacific Crest Trail Association's website.

"For all its beauty and splendor, the wilderness can be a cruel teacher. The PCT remains a wilderness trail with real risk. The elements can be harsh and know no boundaries or show no mercy," said trail information manager Jack Haskel in a post.

Members of the Chinese woman's family have arrived in the US and are in contact with authorities.

The increasing number of incidents and accidents involving tourists has raised safety concerns and affected the tourism industry, Luo Linquan, Chinese consul general in San Francisco, said in a previous interview.

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