I have copied this story from the Superstition Mountains Facebook page. So many mistakes made by both parties. I have been in a similar situation but we did not text the lost hiker and wish him luck, we went back out and looked while having called Search & Rescue, stayed for the duration until the hiker was found. What happened to the woman in the tale below is unconscionable. On the other hand, hiking on a day with a forecast high of 108 (yes of course I have done that and on part of the route she describes but I am stupid) is unwise. Set aside the poor grammar and spelling as you do when you read my posts.
Here is my tale of hiking the superstition ridgeline in all of its full glory. Blood sweat tears tumbles water getting lost and a helicopter rescue.
My intent is to tell the story not to blast anybody as I am going to name first names. One post for my personal page and same goes to my hiking groups. Its may get looong.
Last week I accepted a shout out for anybody to follow Annie along the ridgeline trail. This is a big big hike for some. As I quickly learned..it is a walk in the park for some as well. We had many warnings about the heat and sun. As I am well acclimated to the heat that was not my threat. It was getting lost as I was placing myself in unfamiliar territory. And get lost at the end is exactly what I did. I woke up early and picked up a member of our group Jessy and met Annie and Jared at the Carney Springs Trailhead. Annie left her car at Lost Dutchman. We started walking in the dark at 4:10. Trying to keep up with the awesome fast hikers I was following up Carney trail with a full days pack in the dark was difficult but I knew that the hardest part was first. Then I found a tarantula. By the time we got to 5057 the group was already getting frustrated that I was slower. Mind you I did the research on this hike and it said to expect 10 hours. 8 for a badass and 12 for a pokey. In the parking lot I thought we all agreed that goal was to be off the mountain around 2pm. But I just couldnt keep up with their pace even though I felt fine. Slow and steady wins the race. Or conserves your energy and gets you off the mountain. But omg this was an epic beautiful hike the entire way. I was feeling very good even if I was a loose caboose. At one point when I was actually caught up to the group, our leader took a stumble and rolled into a fully graceful executed somersault down a rocky incline and jumped up on her feet and got a few bandaids from someone and said lets go. Never seen anything like it. At my estimation, we were about 7 miles into the hike when I met up again with the group and asked how much water they had drank and learned that Jessy was out and Jared was almost out. This was the last time I talked to any of them. They said they drink less on the down. I thought we were far from the down and asked where that was. For the first half of the hike. They would hike really fast for awhile then stop for a break and wait for me. I would catch up and as soon as that they were off again. And I quickly fell behind. But they never slowed thier pace. I assessed my water situation and was going to offer a liter but I never talked to them again. They just booked it out of there. For awhile I could see them ahead as there are a few ups and downs. If I could see them and the way they were going then I had an idea of where to look for the cairns which are the guide to this trail. I was feeling so good and accomplished and tough and learning to follow this trail.But by the time I was behind flat iron I hadn't seen them for a while and could not find my way onto the siphon draw trail. I followed a few cairns too far to the east and stopped under a shade tree. This was my first real break of the whole day. We had a short group break at 5057 but every other time the group took a break to wait for me we just quickly started again and no stopping for me. Just more moving. Which was fine. I was happy. Smiling. Beautiful sups. Everything was just as I had expected. Until I got lost and couldnt find one person to show me the way. Once I realized that nobody was around I went down in to the wash and found some shade and rested. At this point I had to tell myself to relax and stop. Remember all of your training. You are prepared. But dont go making bad decisions that put yourself in jeopardy. I could see water in the bottom of the wash and that was comforting even though I still wasnt out of water. After a rest and assessment of my situation I decided to climb back up and not try to take the wash out. I had considered just spending the night and then hike out at sunrise as I kept thinking that I could see a trail but every way I went was a dead end. I really wanted to walk out. But I was worried that people were looking for me. I didnt want to worry the rangers or my hiking partners or my family. So I found myself on the flat mountain rock across the wash from the flatiron. Forgive me that I dont know the names of the canyons and peaks. I could see the city in the break of the mountains before me. I knew that if I could get across this one last mountain that the LDSP was on the other side. But alas the sun was setting. I thought that this was my last chance for help. So I yelled help out over towards flat iron hoping that somebody was sunset hiking and would hear me. And someone shouted back. I yelled. Im ok. Im lost. Im stuck on this rock. They yelled back that they were going to try to find me. I was standing up there waving my white shirt.. Do you see me? Then I saw their light descending flat iron and that is the first time the tears came. I yelled I see your light and just broke down. I wasn't really scared for my safety. I really just needed a guide. But I didnt want to put myself in a situation that I wasnt ok anymore. At this point the sun has set and the city lights are shining and the stars are coming out. It was so beautiful..better for different circumstances. I really wanted to bunker down for the night but I just couldnt do that to my bf and kids. Go hiking in the superstitions and not come home. So I shouted for help. And I kept yelling my name 'Rhonda. Im ok' bc I thought maybe by this point people knew I was still out there and were looking for me but I guess it doesnt work that way. The couple who responded to my distress call called 911 I suppose and yelled back that the helicopter was coming in 10 minutes. Oh shit! I ran back over to the premade fire pit I had seen and quickly filled it with grass. My thinking was that as soon as I saw the helicoper I would send them a signal. Then I waited. Then I saw it coming from the city. I was filled with so many emotions. Gratitude and shame. The first pass they lit up flat iron and went in a circle and missed me. Fuck that was all my grass signal. So as they looped around I ran around and collected more grass. Then wait for them to return. Lit my signal until they shined their spotlight on me. Jumping up and down waving my white shirt. I stomped out the mini fire and as they were circling me they said through the speaker that they had to go burn off fuel and to wait at the first spot they saw me. So I buckled on my pack and watched them fly around and then they came back and landed and the door opened and a man came and got me. We ran hunched over to the helicopter and he helped my climb in and I took off my pack and he buckled me in. 2 minutes and we were on the ground. Waiting for me were about 5 sheriff's deputies and a firetruck with about 5 emts and 2 ranger ladies in their comfy clothes. And everybody was so super kind and concerned and not mad at me for getting a helicopter ride. I dont know all their names but from the helicopter crew to the sherrif and his deputies and emts and rangers I can not express enough of all of it. Thank you to every single unnamed person out there helping me so much! So the emts checked my vitals and everyone wanted to hear my story. And no..the rangers did not know that I was still out there. Nobody was looking for me. I thought maybe my hiking group was down there worried but no. they had just gone home and texted me that they hoped I made it out. One of the deputies said to me that this was the 3rd weekend in a row for a rescue and asked me to do him a favor: dont go hiking when its 108 and I just hung my head and said ok even though it wasnt the heat that got me. I actually didnt finish my water until they said the helicopter was on it way. After the emts cleared me then a nice deputy drove me to my mazda at the carney trailhead. I asked him the time and he said 945 And yeah the other group members car was gone so they left me behind and shuttled without me. Didnt even leave a note on my car. So I plugged in my cell phone and called my family. Then I called Cristina which was the woman who answerd my cry for help and asked the sheriff to give me her number. And that was it. Slept until 2pm and am a little sore but no worse for the wear. Woke up this morning and plucked a few glochids out of my thighs. Today the group I was with said they were faced with a difficult decision as they ran out of water waiting for me so much and had expected to be off trail by 12 even though in the parking lot we said 2pm. But truth be told I never agreed to a marathon hike and I thought that I made it very clear that I didnt know my way. They shouldnt have left me. Ive never been in a simular situation as I am usually the midgrade hiker of the bunch. I have so many questions on where we all went wrong.