ST. GEORGE — While search and rescue crews for Zion National Park were busy with a separate incident, crews from the Washington County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue were called to the park just after noon Thursday to help a stranded hiker.
Sergeant Darrel Cashin said his crew was dispatched to assist a hiker suffering from dehydration. Two men from Texas had set out from the East Fork trailhead when heat, difficult terrain and a pre-existing medical condition combined to overwhelm one of the visitors.
“There’s no cell service or anything down there, so his friend hiked all the way out, made the call, grabbed some water and then hiked all the way back in,” Cashin said. “But the other gentleman couldn’t hold any fluids down – he was that dehydrated.”
Search and rescue operators were accompanied by a park ranger, as well as paramedics from Hurricane Valley Fire District. When they reached the ailing hiker, the paramedics assessed his health and put him on a couple IV bags, Cashin said.
Once he had rested and regained enough strength, he was able to hike out with the assistance of a harness tying him to a few search and rescue crew members. Once they got back to the trailhead, the man was recovered enough that he declined transport to a hospital. The entire rescue operation took about three hours.
While the pair had only hiked in about three-quarters of a mile, the steep, rocky terrain had made for slow going. Cashin said the dehydrated man had agreed to undertake the difficult hike against his better judgement.
With temperatures climbing as summer approaches, the need for caution and preparation is becoming more apparent.
“In the last week, we have been out on three dehydrations,” Cashin said. “People need to start treating this like it’s the middle of summer. They need to start hydrating the night before. They need to make sure they take plenty of water with them and something that can maybe get some electrolytes in them. The heat will suck the moisture right out of you.”
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