As a hiking expert, as a human being, I had two responses to the news that three hikers were swept to their deaths over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park

I shared these responses with ABC World News when a producer called and asked me to comment. See ABC’s Report on National Park Dangers.

I told viewers that my heart goes out to the families of the hikers and to the horrified onlookers. At the same time, my head cannot comprehend the decision-making that occurred when the hikers decided to step into the raging Merced River at the top of Vernal Fall.

Bring a rainwear and common sense when you hike the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall

I had more to say to the reporter—about the awesome power of Yosemite’s waterfalls this year, about my hike up the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall exactly 24 hours before the trio of hikers were lost, about the importance of hiking smart, about the respect due nature and the wisdom of obeying natural laws and park regulations. Nature is not cruel or mean, I said. Nature just is.

The national news program only used a small portion of what I had to say, but “John McKinney, Hiking Expert,” as I was identified, was grateful for the opportunity to talk about hiking safely.