On July 10, 2019, just before 2 pm, a 50-year-old woman from California called the Sheriff’s Office and stated she had hiked off trail with her dog to a high mountain top in Boyton Canyon, Sedona. She reported not being able to find her way back and as a result, a YCSO Forest Patrol deputy coordinated a rescue with 8 volunteers from the Verde Search and Rescue Team (VSAR).
Using cell phone coordinates provided during the call, the search team began its hike to the subject’s location. The Forest Patrol deputy noted the hike was strenuous with several very steep angled climbs up the face of the mountain. The temperature was over 100 degrees so team members were required to stop occasionally to rest and rehydrate. VSAR members reached the subject and her dog just after 5 pm finding both in good condition but out of water. Water was provided to subject and her dog while VSAR members rested after climb.
Due to the rugged terrain, high temperatures and pending loss of light, it was decided to airlift the subject and search team from the mountain top. A Department of Public Safety Ranger Helicopter arrived and was able to land based on directions from the search team. The subject and volunteers were flown off the mountain to a landing zone at the Enchantment Resort. The Forest Patrol deputy would also like to thank security personnel from Enchantment Resort for their assistance.
As always, the Sheriff’s Office thanks our volunteers from the Verde Search and Rescue Team for their dedication to risking their own safety for complete strangers. And of course we also thank the DPS Ranger Crew who arrived in short order to safely remove the subject and rescue team.
Hiking alone is risky, especially if you traverse topography beyond your capabilities. Should an injury occur while there is an inability to communicate, any rescue would be delayed and rely on the chance others may see you. Fortunately, the subject’s cell phone was able to call out for help and she smartly remained stationary until rescue teams arrived. Hiking with a dog can also increase the risk of injury in such difficult terrain as the potential distraction can prevent total focus on your surroundings.
As noted many times in the past, the mountain tops in this area and the views provided are stunning. They attract hikers who may not understand the risk as they are generally much more difficult to descend than climb. Planning your hike and avoiding the hazards ahead of time can prevent such events like this from occurring.
Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website: www.ycsoaz.gov