KANE COUNTY – The bodies of two hikers were found in “The Wave” hiking area in Kane County near the Utah/Arizona border Thursday.
Sgt. Alan Alldredge of the Kane County Sheriff’s Officer said in a press release that Kane County Dispatch received a call from hikers around 8:45 a.m., who had discovered the body of an elderly woman who was deceased a short distance from the trail.
County officials flew into the area by helicopter and retrieved the body. On a return trip to the scene a second body was discovered some 250 yards from where the first body was located. The second body, that of an elderly man, was also investigated and retrieved.
The bodies have been identified as Ulrich Wahli, 70, and his wife Patricia Wahli, 69, of Campbell, Calif. They had permits to hike to The Wave on Wednesday, July 3. They would have been hiking in temperatures in excess of 100 degrees.
Officials believe they passed away Wednesday afternoon.
“Patricia (Wahli) was lying under a tree as though she was trying to find some relief from the heat, or may have been feeling ill,” Alldredge said. “Ulrich (Wahli) may have been trying to get to help when he was also overcome by the heat.”
The bodies will be transferred to the Utah State Medical Examiner’s Office where the cause of death will be further examined.
Alldredge added: “This is a difficult time of year to be hiking in the Wire Pass area of Kane County. Add that to the high heat we are experiencing right now, and it makes for a lethal combination. If you must hike, it is best to do it early in the morning, and make sure you have enough water and supplies.”
The Wave is a popular hiking spot that only allows 20 permits each day. Ten of the daily permits are issued on the internet several months ahead of time. The other 10 are issued by a lottery at the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Visitor’s Center in Kanab, Utah. Some days 70 to 100 people show up for the lottery for the available 10 tickets for the next day. Last year over 48,000 individuals applied for the 7,300 available tickets.
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