Overdue 64-year-old hiker found dead in canyon at Utah national park, rangers say

A 64-year-old woman who failed to return from a hike at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah was later found dead, rangers reported.

Jeanne Roblez Howell of Sedona, Arizona, was reported overdue from a 2 p.m. hike on the Fairyland Loop trail at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 25, rangers said in a news release.

Rangers, assisted by the Garfield County Sheriff’s office and Utah Department of Public Safety, searched overnight for Howell, the release said.

Her body was found at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, in a canyon about a mile from the Fairyland Loop trail, rangers said.

A thunderstorm earlier that afternoon produced flash floods along the trail, rangers said, but the release did not say how Howell died.

Howell, a teacher, had entered her Bryce Canyon National Park trip in her planner as an “Adventure Weekend,” KSTU reported.

“My wife and I always joke that my mom doesn’t have frown lines. She has happy lines because she’s smiling so much,” her son, Benjamin, told the station.

Each year, she tried to hike a number of miles equal to the number of that year.

“This is a tragic event, and our deepest sympathy goes out to the victim’s friends and family,” said Allana Olbrich, acting Bryce Canyon superintendent.

Bryce Canyon National Park is about 270 miles south of Salt Lake City near the Arizona border.

How to be prepared while hiking

If you’re planning to hike, the National Park Service says there are 10 essentials you should take:

  • Navigation: Pack a map, compass and a GPS system. Make sure you study your route beforehand and understand how to use the tools.

  • Sun protection: Sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat can help protect your skin and eyes from UV rays.

  • Insulation: A jacket, hat, gloves, raincoat and thermal underwear can help you be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions.

  • Illumination: A flashlight, lantern and headlamp can create light if you get stuck in the dark — and don’t forget to pack extra batteries.

  • First-aid supplies: It’s a good idea to have a first-aid kit on hand while hiking. Check the expiration date on items before you pack them.

  • Fire: Matches and a lighter can help start fire to act as an emergency signal in times of need.

  • Repair kit and tools: Duct tape, a knife, screwdriver and scissors can be helpful if items break during your hike or you need assistance.

  • Nutrition: You should pack an extra day’s worth of food in case something goes wrong. Park officials recommend having “salty and easy to digest snacks.”

  • Hydration: You should drink water often and before you feel thirsty if you’re hiking in hot weather. Keeping your body hydrated is “of utmost importance,” park officials said.

  • Emergency shelter: Packing a tent, space blanket, tarp and bivy can help you be prepared if severe weather breaks out or your plan takes a turn.

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