A man who hiked into a rugged area of Grand Canyon National Park with four friends only to head back early after feeling tired was later found dead just a short distance from a parking area.
According to park reports, the five men had started out Tuesday morning on what was to be a day hike down to the Colorado River along the Lava Falls Route. The hiker who turned back was last seen by his friends about 9 a.m. While the four others continued on down the trail, they later separated, with two deciding to camp for the night near the river and the other two deciding to hike back to the top of the rim and their vehicle.
"During the course of hiking out the two hikers came upon the body of their friend, who had left the group earlier in the day, on a point approximately 100 yards from a parking lot adjacent to where the route begins," park officials said.
With nightfall looming, rangers were unable to take a helicopter to the site and instead drove to the area, a ride that took about three-and-a-half hours. They recovered the man's body shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday and transferred it to the Mohave County Medical Examiner, who was to determine cause of death.
The victim's name was being withheld, pending positive identification and notification of next-of-kin.
Park rangers urge hikers, especially when hiking in remote areas of the park, to be aware of the hazards that exist and to go prepared. The Lava Falls Route is one of the hottest, steepest routes within Grand Canyon National Park. It is can be dangerous and is not a hike that is recommended during hotter times of the year. Hiking information, including trail conditions and weather, can be obtained on the park's Web site at http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm, at one of the park's Backcountry Information Center's or by calling 928-638-7875.
According to the park's release, the victim also was low on water.