Hiker Suffers Lethal Fall on West Bluff Trail

The tall cliffs of Prospect Point peek out atop the West Bluff of Devils Lake State Park.
The tall cliffs of Prospect Point peek out atop the West Bluff of Devils Lake State Park.
 

Hiking back to the car on Thursday, we ran into a TV news crew on the trail. Evidently, a hiker had fallen while exploring the cliffs off the West Bluff Trail - the same trail we were climbing next to - just a few hours earlier. I got home and read an internet news brief, then saw the hiker had been identified on Saturday as a middle-age McFarland woman.

Wisconsin State Journal article Baraboo News Republic article

I don't know exactly where the woman fell. The report says she was at the bottom of a 100-foot cliff (The Lost Wall?). Her accident is a tragic wake-up call to everyone who scrambles around the cliff-tops at the lake. I have been doing so for years, but that's perhaps why I'm in MORE danger than someone there for their first time: as we repeatedly walk away from a given risk unscathed, the risk seems less and less dangerous. But all it takes is a loose rock, a slick step, or just a momentary loss of balance, and we can find ourselves seriously injured, or worse.