Missing hikers found OK after ordeal in desert
Two missing hikers were found in good condition Tuesday after becoming lost and making a marathon forced march through the San Rafael Desert.
Emery County Sheriff's Office Dispatch received a call at 1:45 p.m. on Monday stating that 27-year-old Dayne Aristizabal of Spanish Fork and 22-year-old Saryn Stratton of Provo had set out for a day hike on Sunday morning at 8:30 a.m. and were due back Sunday evening. They did not return, and did not show up for work on Monday morning. Family advised that their vehicle should be at the Baptist Draw trail head.
A ranger from Goblin Valley State Park located their vehicle at the trail head. Emery County Sheriff's Office personnel, Search and Rescue Team members and a DPS helicopter were dispatched and searched the area throughout the day Monday, concentrating on the Baptist Draw area. Personnel from Emery County Sheriff's Office aboard the helicopter reported they had flown the length of Baptist Draw and surrounding canyons with good visibility and had not spotted anyone.
At about 10:30 p.m., personnel aboard the helicopter using heat-seeking equipment detected a fire ring with hot coals. There was some gear near the fire ring and an arrow pointing south.
At about 11:00 p.m., dispatch received a call from a passing motorist stating that a Greyhound bus on I-70 was pulled over alongside the freeway and had picked up a man that had been lost in the wilderness for two days. A deputy located the bus, pulled it over, and took the man with him to aid in the search for the missing female. He advised that his female hiking companion was approximately 13 miles south of I-70 on Muddy Creek.
The man and woman had hiked 12 miles before the man decided to hike out for help on his own. He then covered at least 23 miles before reaching I-70.
Deputies located the female at 11:30 p.m. The male hiker explained that while hiking on Sunday, he had become concerned about the gathering storm clouds and the potential of flash flooding in the slot canyon, and decided to move off trail to higher ground. As they continued hiking, they became disoriented. Other than slight dehydration, the parties were in good condition and refused medical treatment.
Emery County Sheriff Greg Funk stressed the importance of being prepared for unforeseen circumstances by packing adequate water, food and clothing. Always make notification of where you are beginning your trip, your intended route of travel and when you are expected to return.