Yosemite National Park is the home of some of California’s most famous hiking trails with spectacular vistas. With thousand-foot drop waterfalls, scenic routes, mountain peaks and valleys, Yosemite is a wild place. Over the years, visitors have disappeared among the trails or plummeted to their deaths by slipping on wet stones or falling over protective railings by the waterfalls.
It’s easy to assume that the accidents are nothing more than Mother Nature proving, once again, that she is the host and we’re nothing more than mere guests in her world.
Not every death in Yosemite National Park California is a result of nature
Swimmers dive in the rivers, get swept by the current and plummet over the edge of the waterfall. Hikers slip and fall, never to be seen again, their bodies never recovered. When a drop is more than a thousand feet, people know to beware the high winds and slippery slopes around the Yosemite waterfalls.
Yet, why is Yosemite National Park home to some very famous haunted hiking trails?
The legend of Po-ho-no and the Ah-wah-nee are only a part of it. The Miwok Indians have legends and stories about Po-ho-no. It is said that Po-ho-no lures the hikers over the edge of the trail to look down over the misty waterfall.
Once you look over the edge, Po-ho-no is meant to push you over, masquerading as a strong wind that you cannot escape. The name of the spirit isn’t actually Po-ho-no. Po-ho-no means “Evil Wind,” and some call it “Evil Spirit,” however, its true name isn’t known to this day.
Holding onto the railings will not help you if Po-ho-no has decided to take you that day. Po-ho-no has tricked many hikers over the years. Meanwhile, the Miwok Indians huddle against the wind and avoid going to the edge of the trail.
But is Po-ho-no really tricking tourists into killing themselves?
Po-ho-no and the Ah-wah-nee maidens
The legend says that one day, the Ah-wah-nee maidens were gathering flowers and grass for their basket weaving. One of them wandered far away from the trail, close to the edge. If she was the first victim of Po-ho-no, it is not known, but once she peered over the edge, Po-ho-no took her over the precipice.
The Ah-wah-nee maidens rushed back to the village to seek help from the men. The men gathered and, strong-armed, went to find the maiden. Fearing the same fate, the Ah-wah-nee men sought below for the young maiden’s body.
Her body was never found.
The legend says that the maiden spirit was not lost. It was trapped, waiting for the next victim to fall prey to Po-ho-no’s lure.
When the next victim strayed off the trail, close to the edge, Po-ho-no released the spirit of the young maiden. Unable to continue on her path to the great beyond, her spirit was tasked with snatching the next victim over the edge. Only then would her spirit be free of Po-ho-no’s clutches and able to soar on the wind.
And until this day, Po-ho-no, the Evil Wind, continues trapping the spirits of the unwitting tourists. It lures them to peer over the edge into the Falls and disappear into the misty waterfall, replacing the spirit of Po-ho-no’s previous victim, over and over again.