Two hikers at Yosemite National Park were killed in separate incidents on Friday.
Kent Scott Butler, 60, of Austin, Texas, was hiking the Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Falls when he slipped on a rock slab just before noon on Friday and fell into the Merced River below. He became lodged in rocks in the fast-moving water and likely drowned, according to Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman. Butler was a professor and assistant dean of research and operations at University of Texas.
The Mist Trail is always wet and slippery, but is even more hazardous this year. Yosemite's snowpack is at 199 percent of normal, resulting in spectacular -- and often dangerous -- conditions around its famed waterfalls.