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Backpacker dies at Grand Canyon amid extreme heat

National Park Service

A 53-year-old backpacker died over the weekend on the Tonto Trail in Grand Canyon National Park amid extreme heat in the area.

The national park confirmed in a Monday statement that Michelle Meder of Hudson, Ohio, was on a multi-day backpacking trip on Saturday when she felt disoriented and later became unconscious. Rangers in the area on determined she had died on Sunday.

The park said that the cause of the woman’s death “is believed to be heat-related.” Temperatures soared to approximately 115°F at Phantom Ranch in the national park on Sunday.

Meder’s death is being investigated by the National Parks Service and the Coconino County Medical Examiner.

Park rangers in the statement said that they are “strongly urging visitors to Grand Canyon, especially inner canyon hikers and backpackers to be prepared for excessively hot days in the coming weeks.” Officials warned that temperatures on exposed parts of area trails can reach over 120°F during the summer months. 

Park officials also warned that most people who require emergency services due to heat-related illnesses are hiking between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Hiking in extreme temperatures can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and other medical emergencies.

Tags Grand Canyon National Park Service

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