Yosemite National Park, Vernal Fall

Yosemite National Park visitors look over Vernal Fall . (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times / August 5, 2011)

Rangers are searching a popular Yosemite National Park trail after a man failed to return from a hike Sunday and his pack was found at the top of a waterfall, officials said.

About 30 park rangers and a dog team are checking the Mist Trail between Happy Isles to the top of Vernal Fall for signs of Kenneth Stensby, a 73-year-old Minnesota man described as an "avid hiker" in a park statement.

Stensby had been staying at Yosemite's Ahwahnee Hotel for several days and left a note with the staff Sunday morning saying he was expected to be back from his hike by noon, park officials said.

But Stensby didn't come back. His day pack was found later Sunday near the guard rails at the top of Vernal Fall, a 317-foot drop on the Merced River, officials said. His camera was missing.

Park officials are asking other hikers and tourists if they saw Stensby at any point Sunday or Monday. They have also asked that visitors check their cameras for photos of the missing man.

Anyone with information about Stensby is asked to call (209) 372-0432.

Vernal Fall is a popular stop for park visitors, albeit one that has made headlines in recent years.

In August, a 10-year-old boy and his 6-year-old brother died after they were caught in a current at the Vernal Fall footbridge. The summer before, three people were swept over the waterfall after witnesses said they climbed over the barricade at the top. None survived. 

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