Summer heat makes for dangerous conditions at Palo Duro Canyon - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Summer heat makes for dangerous conditions at Palo Duro Canyon

CANYON - The summer heat is turning rescue crews into regulars at Palo Duro Canyon.

47-year-old Austrian tourist, Gerald Christoph Folser, died in the canyon Monday after taking a fatal fall.

Tuesday afternoon, a 16-year-old girl was rushed to the hospital due to severe dehydration. Park officials say the girl became ill on the six mile Lighthouse Trail, and her friends rushed to the visitor center to get help.

Both of those accidents prove how dangerous the canyon can be this time of year; but water, a hiking buddy, and following park rules can make mean the difference between life and death.

It's a summer destination for tourists and locals alike, but a simple hike can turn deadly.

Folser was hiking the mile and half long CCC trail with a friend Monday afternoon.
"It appears the individual did veer off the trail and ended up taking a fall down into the canyon," Park Superintendent Cory Evans said.

Evans says it took several hours to find the man, and several more to pull him out of a deep ravine. But Evans said it all may have been avoided, if the victim would have stayed on the trail with his hiking buddy.

The CCC trail is one of the shorter and most popular trails in the canyon, but it also happens to be one of the most treacherous because of steep inclines and the grueling heat.

"It may be 100 degrees up top, but it's 8 to 10 degrees hotter in the canyon," Evans said.

One liter of water per person, per mile is the safest bet in the simmering heat, and a friend can be life saver on the trail in the event of an emergency.

"Hike with some friends or at least two people, we definitely recommend that. Always carry a cell phone with you and always always take plenty of water," Evans said.

Bottom line, simple precautions can save your life. So bring lots of water, don't go alone, stay on the trail, and try to set out early in morning before the intense heat sets in.

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