About Coconino County

About Coconino County

Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.

May 11, 2011

Another Lost Hiker Rescued on the Peaks

Last month, there were two groups of lost hikers on the San Francisco peaks, one night and then the next. The first group was very hypothermic when rescuers from Coconino County SAR arrived, and a teammate of mine told me he didn't think one at least would have survived the night. These hikers had all lost the trail and then darkness had caught up with them. Good thing there's a cell phone signal up there!

At this time, the Mt. Humphreys Trail is still covered with snow in some sections -- and, in some places, that snow is still quite deep -- and a lot of blowdowns, making it very difficult to follow. One of my teammates, who was hiking up there recently and who knows the mountain intimately, helped at least one disoriented hiker make his way back down to the Arizona Snowbowl ski area, likely avoiding a search and rescue later that same day or night.

This past Monday night, there was another call for the rescue of another lost hiker on Mt. Humphreys. Using the GPS technology on his cell phone, the Ohio man texted his coordinates to his wife, still back in Ohio, who then contacted Coconino County Sheriff's dispatch at around 5:30 p.m.  Eight search and rescue volunteers were dispatched to the coordinates and located the lost hiker. After helping him get warm, they escorted him back down the mountain to  his vehicle. He declined medical attention.

Please remember, if you're going to hike Mt. Humphreys, especially when the trail is in such "challenging" shape, carry extra layers of clothing, two light-sources and extra batteries, food and plenty of water, a topographic map (Humphreys Peak Quad), a GPS (if you know how to use it, that is), and a fully charged cell phone. Keep in mind that you'll be hiking at elevations from approximately 9,500 up to 12,600 feet, which is a lot more difficult --and colder and often much windier -- than hiking at sea level or even down in Flagstaff at 7,000 feet, so it will take you quite a bit longer.

For current trail conditions, contact the Coconino National Forest Ranger District at 1824 S. Thompson St.
Flagstaff, AZ 86001 -- 928-527-3600

Also, to follow up on the fundraiser for injured Coconino County Search and Rescue team member, Scott Baker, held this past Saturday ... I'm told more than $11,000 was raised for the Baker family on that day. Thank you to all who participated and helped make this event such a success!

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