60-Year-Old Woman Disappears After Going to Hike Arizona Trail

by Caitlin Berard
(Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images)

On Sunday (September 25), 60-year-old Kathleen Patterson left her home at around 7:30 a.m. She was headed out for a day of hiking at the Spur Cross trail in the Cave Creek area.

Three hours later, her family received a call from the hiker assuring them that she was fine. After that, however, she was never heard from again.

Authorities later found her gray Infiniti at the trailhead, but there was no sign of Patterson herself. She was last seen wearing a green tank top, hiking shorts, and a white visor hat. She was also carrying a blue backpack.

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office asks that anyone who sees Kathleen Patterson or knows of her whereabouts contact them immediately.

The day Kathleen Patterson went missing, the Cave Creek area reached temperatures of 101 degrees. Though absolutely scorching, this heat is typical for the Spur Cross trail in late summer/early fall.

Because of this, local police and emergency officials urge adventurers to get started early with their hikes so they can return to the safety of their cars before the afternoon heat sets in.

“It is important to plan your hike, hike the plan, bring plenty of water, and know how to identify heat exhaustion,” the local Fire Department said in a statement.

Man Dies While Hiking the Same Arizona Trail

Even the most well-prepared hikers can fall victim to the blistering weather. Earlier this month, six hikers got lost on the Spur Cross trail. Unable to find their way out, they ran out of water and their phones died.

Eventually, they contacted emergency services with another hiker’s phone. But at that point, they were all suffering from heat exhaustion. One member of the party, 32-year-old Evan Dishion, had gone unconscious.

While assisting the rest of his party, rescue crews rushed Dishion to a nearby hospital but it was too late. He died at the hospital from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

“When we got out on that trail, the temperature on the asphalt alone was reading 127 off of our truck,” Captain Dave Folio of the Scottsdale Fire Department explained to CBS5. “I think it was 109 outside, so it was extreme heat. They should have been off the trail three or four hours ago.”

“Have a plan, know your limitations,” he continued. “That’s the message we are trying to get out. If you get to half your water, we’re asking people to turn around and go back to the trailhead.”