So this recent story from the National Parks Traveler website made my heart sing....
A group of feral burros inadvertently saved the life of a hiker lost in Death Valley National Park by leading him to water.
Park officials said the unidentified man set out for a hike on May 5 at Saline Valley Dunes, an area in the northwestern corner of the park that you need a four-wheel-drive rig to reach. Four days later, rangers received word that a white pickup truck had been parked there for several days.
"Rangers searched the area on Sunday but were unable to locate anyone associated with the truck. Through investigation, they determined that it had been rented by a single person and had not been returned by the rental contract’s termination date," noted District Ranger J.D. Updegraff. "On Monday, the Beverly Hills Police Department checked at the man’s home and confirmed that he was overdue and a search was begun."
This past Tuesday, around 10 a.m., the man was found roughly five miles from his vehicle and to the east of the dune complex.
"The man reportedly set out alone for a day hike on the morning of Tuesday, May 5th, and became disoriented. Unable to find his way back to his vehicle, he followed a group of burros to a watering hole where he subsisted until rescue arrived," the district ranger reported. "The man was transported to Northern Inyo Hospital where he is being treated for second degree sunburn and a rhabdomyolysis," a disease in which muscles breakdown.
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Cat Herder (aka Marisa) has been guiding pilot tours in the American West for over twenty years. Keep tabs on your Parkwest pilot friends, National Park news and other tidbits here!