A Chinese woman recently found dead in Yosemite National Park might have drowned while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, according to park management.
The results of an investigation 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 she quit her job to fulfill her dream of hiking the iconic Pacific Crest Trail, a 2,600-mile route that runs up the West Coast and draws thousands of long-distance hikers each year, according to Chinese media reports.
She was about 1 kilometer downstream of the trail crossing. It is unknown if she had moved downstream or upstream from the trail before trying to cross.
"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 reddit.com. Rhaven said they climbed the Forester together four weeks earlier.
Another hiker, "cantor0101", said the reason 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," Cantor0101 said. "It was a seemingly small decision that had delayed consequences."
This winter's heavy rains have swollen rivers and obscured some segments of the Pacific Crest Trail by 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 Pacific Crest 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," Jack Haskel wrote in the post.
Family members of Wang have arrived in the United States and were in contact with the authorities.
The increasing number of incidents and accidents involving tourists has raised safety concerns and affected the tourism industry, Chinese Consul General in San Francisco Luo Linquan said in a previous interview.
In recent years, incidents involving Chinese travelers in the US have risen, from highway accidents to terrorist attacks, shootings and other crimes. The consulate receives over 10 reports of Chinese traveler and student casualties every month. In many cases, the victims were in their 20s.