7 Beautiful Vacation Spots (That Want To Kill You Dead)
Between climate change, foot-long spiders, and Shirley in accounting's persistent refusal to sneeze into her sleeve, it's always been clear that nature wants us dead. No matter how many bottles of hand sanitizer you helpfully provide Shirley that she "forgets" to use, at least you're still relatively safe indoors. As many of us have long suspected, real danger comes from outside. Especially the gorgeous, scenic outside in the Facebook photos of your richer friends. For example ...
New Hampshire's Killer Hike
The deceptively named Mount Washington in northeastern New Hampshire is also deceptively evil. It's only 6,000 feet high, which doesn't sound "only" anything to people like us who sit around eating pizza rolls and laughing at our own farts, but in terms of mountain hiking, it's little more than a particularly solid dog turd.
That's how whichever god cursed it lures you in. The mountain has killed over 100 people since 1849, a career longer than any mortal serial killer could hope for -- including three skiers who'd barely escaped three separate avalanches. That's some Final Destination bullshit, but so many people keep jaunting the unassuming trails, blissfully unaware that they're marching to their doom, that they've had to post a bunch of signs that stop short of "No, seriously, go home. You will die."
In a movie, foreshadowing this heavy-handed would be considered satire.
If you, unlike the mountain's more recent victims, are a keen sign-reader, you may have deduced that the problem is the weather. The mountain happens to sit at the convergence of several "stormtracks," meaning that just about every storm passing over the country in certain directions is going to pass over the mountain, as if it heard of Murphy's Law and took it as a dare. Just for fun, the topography of the region also creates a "natural funnel" that channels all the wind in the area directly to the mountain, resulting in the pants-shitting 231 mph wind speed commemorated on that sign that, incidentally, is attached to a building held down by heavy chains. After one hiker died of exposure in 2015, her search party recorded a wind chill of -100.
Like, have these people even heard of pizza rolls?
Oregon's Killer Cape
For a couple of years, it was all the rage for local couples to get their wedding photos taken on top of the aptly named Pedestal Rock, or "the duckbill" to the less sentimental. With its breathtaking ocean views and irresistible tweeness, it certainly makes for a memorable picture. It's also part of the deadliest place on the Oregon coast.
It's killed more people than all the DUI unicyclers in Portland.
A drop straight into the ocean, particularly in a big poofy dress, is probably not worth the risk for 92 Instagram likes, but for better or worse, that rock is no more. It was destroyed by a group of people whose friend had recently broken their leg after climbing it, and honestly, a structure that can be pushed over by a bunch of drunk teenagers is probably best toppled. But it's not the only risk of Oregon's deadliest cape. The Punchbowl, a formation of enticing rainbow sandstone, is the cape's most fatal attraction, giving little warning before filling with water and trapping beachgoers in a "washing machine" whose load consists of you and giant rocks. Only one person has ever been pulled out of the whirlpool alive.
Why on Earth is anyone even allowed to set foot in such death traps? They aren't, really. These are fenced-off areas with signs warning people of the danger, and even at one point a memorial featuring a clothespin for every person who's died there attached to the fence. Notice the footprints on the other side.
Maybe "summer laundry" wasn't the scariest theme they could have gone with.
Legally, authorities can't physically stop people from skipping to their own deaths. As they became more desperate to discourage visitors and stem the hemorrhage of public funds it takes to rescue them, a park ranger has been appointed to patrol the fence, but she can't convince everybody. After warning two apparently unattended young boys playing in the Punchbowl -- remember, the one so named because of the waves that will punch you to death in the face -- she was promptly cursed out by their suddenly very visible mother. You can lead a horse away from water, but you can't make it not let its children drown horribly.
Australia's Killer Rock
Meanwhile in Australia, where they are a lot less tolerant of messing around with the forces of nature that are constantly trying to kill them, park rangers have begun issuing minimum $300 fines to people climbing Wedding Cake Rock. Time out: Have we tried not naming dangerous formations after symbols of love? Just a thought.
In Australia, spider bites are officially known as "lover's kisses."
See, the dazzlingly bright white that gives Wedding Cake Rock its name and appeal is in fact a sign that it's on the verge of collapse. The regional manager of the local parks and wildlife service explained that "oxides and other contaminants that are usually in the stone matrix are bleached out of it, and the result is that the rock is much more fragile than other coastal clifflines." It could crumble at any time, most likely within the next 10 years, like a similar nearby formation that claimed the life of a 23-year-old French student in 2014. Naturally, this means people are flocking to the area to get that daring photo while they still can.
Of course, this is statistically still the safest place in the nation.
Since the man's death, traffic to the area exploded by 500 percent, including a suspicious increase of "visitors in designer clothes, high heels and even carrying dogs." Not to buy in to stereotypes, but those people are probably not there to appreciate the geography. As a result, there have been two more falls, one of which resulted in serious spinal injuries. The dangers posed by the sheer drop and tens of thousands of feet stomping all over the sandstone -- which, it cannot be overemphasized, could fall into the ocean right now -- has led authorities to put up fences, railings, and signs reading the likes of "Do not risk your life for a photograph." Observe the visitors, not giving a shit.
Oh, it's a headstand on a white rock. That's worth risking death.
New Zealand's Killer Glacier
It's hard to get a selfie on a glacier, what with their being mostly near the poles and also giant ice chunks. But Fox Glacier is surprisingly accessible, visited by as many as 1,000 people a day in the summer. That's also the time of year during which it's "notoriously unstable." Think about what icicles do when they catch the first rays of spring sunshine, except the icicles are literally the size of cars.
Do you really want your obit to read "Teabagged by nature"?
In the summer of 2009, two brothers in their early 20s failed to learn their lesson the hard way when they breached a safety barrier to take pictures while bungee-jumping. They were quickly crushed by 100 tons of ice and rocks. The area was so dangerous that rescue workers had to evacuate after recovering only one body, forced to leave the other behind. Oh, and their parents watched the whole thing go down. If there's a joke there, it's really good at hiding. Six years later, a helicopter crashed on the glacier and rescue workers were unable to reach the site at all. It's not like the helicopter chose where to crash, but if you gave it the option, it probably would have been better off in the freaking ocean.
And still, the Department of Conservation reports that about a third of visitors ignore warning signs and go gallivanting off into Chevy Actually a Rock territory. Places where, should something bad definitely happen, you're on your goddamn own to get out. It's even become a fun meme to take pictures mocking the sign, just to give fate the double-bird.
Did these people learn nothing from Final Destination?
Are we sensing a pattern?
Iceland's Killer Coast
The Dyraholaey Peninsula in South Iceland is ... look, at this point, you know people are going there to take dumbass pictures.
Or to pretend not to pose as their friends take dumbass pictures.
But the potential fall isn't necessarily the risk -- it's the ocean. It looks pretty far away there, so imagine people's surprise when this happened:
Half were surprised. Half were consumed.
The vengeful 10-story spirit of Poseidon isn't the only danger, either. In 2015, someone presumably saw Stevie Nicks's reflection in the snow-covered hills and the landslide brought it down. Then the authorities closed it down. The very next week, people were right back out there, ignoring the barriers and venturing out to the very edge, mere feet from where the cliff gave way, selfie sticks in hand and sense of self-preservation decidedly not.
Instagram: the silent killer.
When the peninsula crumbles, it falls onto the beaches below, which has its own problems. Its sneaker waves have carried away three people in the last few years, leading to its own shutdown, combined with the whole Chicken Little situation. Guess how much anyone respected that.
There's no way to know, because we have no pictures of them.
Man, Iceland rescue crews already have to deal with people floating away on the sheets of ice where they decided to have a picnic. They don't have time for this.
Yosemite's Killer Waterfall
If you must ignore TLC's excellent advice and go chasing waterfalls, don't do it at the Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park. In the last 10 years, 14 people have gone over the stunning drops of the Nevada and Vernal Falls, from heights of 594 and 317 feet, respectively. Obviously, they're all super dead.
No gold at the end of that rainbow.
Of course, some of those people were posing for dangerous pictures, including a group in 2011 who stood on a rock in Vernal Fall while bystanders shouted at them to stop being idiots and then watched in horror as their warnings proved credible. Two days later, a rescue team had yet to find their bodies. But a lot of those people were just swimming in the rivers above, having underestimated the strength of the current despite the railings and many, many signs reading "You will die" in several languages.
God's way of saying "You will die" is providing a giant waterfall.
Of course, signs really only work if people can read them. As of 2013, on a sign near Vernal Fall of a swimmer in a circle and slash -- the universal language of "Don't do that" -- it appeared that someone had tried to rub out the slash. Someone with a very healthy skepticism of the existence of hell.
Florida's Killer Cave Dive
Hey, wanna dive into this hole?
Dear god, why? First of all, it's in Florida, so you know this can only end in bizarre tragedy. The Eagle's Nest Cave is also known as the "Mount Everest of cave diving," with a depth of 300 feet and a main hall the size of a football field. It definitely wins for most hardcore warning sign, featuring an actual grim reaper.
75 people died stopping to look at the sign.
Nevertheless, in 2013, a father took his 15-year-old son (both were inexperienced and uncertified cave divers) for a Christmas dive. Both died when they ran out of oxygen. A year and a half later, another man took his teenage son down Cave Everest, but the boy decided to turn back halfway toward a 120-ft-deep underwater cave. The father kept going, later found 50 feet short of his destination. Initially, investigators were flummoxed as to the cause of death. We're gonna go ahead and guess "being stuck 70 feet underwater."
Though the holes in his chest did look suspiciously tridenty.
All told, the cave has claimed at least 10 lives since 1981, five in the last three years. The quintet was rounded out by two men in October 2016, who for the record do not appear to be father and son. Nevertheless, that cave is clearly haunted by the ghost of Harry Chapin.
Follow us on Facebook, and let's go cave diving in Florida.