Lions and tigers and bears – oh my! You never know what you are going to run into when out in the wild.
Hiking a mountainside comes with its challenges and dangers – but always promises the reward of exquisite views and memorable accomplishments.
However, without the proper preparation, even a leisurely stroll can turn into your worst nightmare.
Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most-visited national parks in the United States with nearly 5.9 million visitors a year as reported by the US Department of Interior.
With over 100 trails to explore, hikers must choose wisely which one they want to complete.
Food, water, equipment, terrain, and temperature all have to be considered before embarking on one of the best hikes of your career.
Sadly, when the great outdoors is confronted without preparation, tragedy can occur.
“A Canadian tourist died in Arizona last week while hiking in the Grand Canyon,” the National Park Service said.
Melanie Goodine, 41, from Ottawa set off on Bright Angel Trail with seemingly not a care in the world, but her adventure was cut short.
Despite the trail being “the most popular trail in the park” with a “fairly easy” descent, the return hike is a bit more than bargained for.
“Wide views of the inner canyon and distant formations often distract hikers from just how far down the trail they’ve walked. The return hike back up and out of the canyon is far more difficult and requires much more effort,” the National Park Service (NPS) website explains.
Sadly, during the return hike – Goodine dropped dead.
Surrounding hikers attempted to resuscitate the “hiker in distress” after calling the Grand Canyon Regional Communications Center for help.
National Park Service’s Search and Rescue personnel continued giving CPR when they arrived on the scene but to no avail – Goodine had passed.
The National Park Service and Coconino County’s medical examiner has not released a cause of death and are investigating the issue.
However, as the NPS warns, temperatures at Grand Canyon National Park in the summer months can reach well over 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
The particular part of the trail that Goodine was on when she passed away was between 95 and 104 degrees – in the shade!
While the Bright Angel Trail is a great option for the ace and novice alike, it should be avoided during the hottest days of the year unless you are fully prepared.
In response to this tragic event, NPS warns all visitors they “should ensure they are drinking plenty of fluids, resting in shade during the heat of the day, watching for signs of distress in traveling companions, and dressing appropriately for the weather, which includes light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.”
We don’t think Goodine’s unfortunate death should deter others from experiencing the awe and beauty of the great outdoors – however, it should remind us that exposing ourselves to the harsh elements no matter the season can mean life or death if we are not prepared.
Now – go find your next hike! Adventure awaits!