Climate change has caused a significant increase in temperatures across the country this summer. As a result, regions throughout the western United States have suffered numerous excessive heat warnings. The heat poses incredible dangers to hikers overall. Most recently, an Arizona hiker was found dead after separating from her husband during a hike on Sunday.
According to Scottsdale, AZ police, authorities located the body of 57-year-old Donna Miller of Rhode Island Sunday evening. They found her body near a trail in Northeast Scottsdale. Miller’s husband told authorities the pair started hiking the Brown’s Ranch hiking trail system around 12:30 p.m. Sunday. The couple separated but made plans to meet up a short while later.
However, Miller’s husband stated the woman never showed up at their meeting place. He called 911 at about 3:15 p.m.
After the woman’s husband made the call, authorities arrived a short time later. Rescue teams included firefighters from Scottsdale and Pheonix, as well as MCSO and the Maricopa County Mountain Rescue Team. Azfamily.com stated search dogs and a helicopter also assisted in the search.
A bystander, Katherine Royster, detailed the events of Sunday’s search from her perspective. As a regular hiker at Brown’s Ranch, she told the outlet, “There were about 15 or 20 sheriff’s officers, police officers, K9 officers; the helicopter came in.” As the search ensued, helicopter pilots dropped near Royster to confirm her safety.
Royster confirmed her safety before the search continued. Authorities later told her about the search for the missing woman.
“I saw her car and I saw them taking items for the dogs to smell, so I’m sure they were trying to find a location,” she said.
While Miller’s body saw recovery Sunday night, the cause of death remains unknown. However, due to recent heat advisories, authorities believe her death comes as a result of heat-related illness and environmental exposure.
Utah Hiker Succumbs to a Heatstroke
Among this summer’s intense heat indexes, hikers across the country have perished as a result of environmental impact and heatstroke. Headlines throughout the summer have detailed the heat-related deaths of hikers across the country. Deaths have occurred in California, Utah, and now Arizona, among others.
Most recently, a 32-year-old man died of heatstroke in Utah’s Zion National Park shortly after voicing complaints about the heat. According to companions, the man, identified as John Henry Wolfe, complained to that he felt ill right before he collapsed.
The group had been hiking the Canyon Trail at the park earlier this month amid 95-degree heat. Further, Wolfe had just completed a 9-mile trek prior to voicing his complaints. When paramedics arrived, Wolfe remained unresponsive. Revival attempts ensued for an hour before confirming his death.
While both hikers’ deaths are tragic, heatstroke is relatively avoidable should individuals take the correct precautions. Cautious decisions include hiking during cooler times of day. Hikers should also remain hydrated during hikes, stop for breaks, and pay attention to bodily changes. Signs of heatstroke include headaches, dizziness, rapid pulse, and confusion.