Southern Utah News Articles
Top Stories for May 2, 2012
Miraculous recovery of Maine hiker in remote Garfield County
Victoria Grover, 59, of Wade, Maine, is alive and okay, after spending four days with a broken leg and no food in a remote hiking area in Garfield County.
Grover, an avid outdoorswoman and physician’s assistant, decided to visit the Sand Creek area after having taken an outdoor course there from BYU 40 years ago. She had planned only to do a small day hike, and parked her vehicle at the Hell’s Backbone road, to walk from there to Sand Creek and back. But it got dark before Grover was able to make it back to her car, and so she stayed the night in the desert.
The next morning (Wednesday) she jumped off a four-foot ledge and broke her leg just above her ankle. Grover scooted to the Sand Creek, and was able to drink the water, but other than a few light snacks, she had no food or shelter. Grover, who also suffers from Type 2 diabetes, says she survived by laying in the sun during the daylight to sleep, and staying awake at night.
The bed and breakfast she stayed at (Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch) called the Garfield County Sheriff’s office when she didn’t check out Thursday as scheduled. Fortunately, deputies were able to find her car rental agreement in her room, which helped them locate her vehicle on the Hell’s Backbone Road.
Search and rescue crews were unable to locate her, and the Utah Highway Patrol search helicopter was called in to search Friday night and Saturday morning. Search and Rescue teams on horseback were able to find her tracks leading downstream, and at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning she was found by the UHP helicopter. An EMT on the helicopter treated the woman on sight, and then the helicopter transported her to Garfield Memorial Hospital, where she was treated for exposure and for her broken leg.
Garfield County Sheriff Deputy Ray Gardner said, “It’s truly a miraculous survival. If we hadn’t been able to find her car rental agreement to locate her car, we’d still be looking for her, and I feel certain she wouldn’t have survived much longer.”
Gardner, a native of Boulder and frequently heading search parties for lost hikers in his jurisdiction, also said, “Many things can go wrong even on a simple day hike. It’s very important to let someone know what your itinerary is, where exactly you’re going, and when exactly you plan to be back.”
Garfield County County Sheriff Danny Perkins said, “We want to thank the Garfield County Search and Rescue team, along with the UHP helicopter crew for their dedication, hard work, and many, many hours of training and expertise. Because of them, we were able to save a life today.”