Couple dies on route to popular rock formation
SALT LAKE CITY — A lottery system for hikers makes it difficult for many to win a permit to visit a rock formation called The Wave — and that may have colored the judgment of a couple who set out in brutal heat and were found dead along the trail.
Ulrich and Patricia Wahli, of Campbell, Calif., had permits to hike the 3 miles across open country in blazing heat and in energy-sapping deep sand. Authorities said they apparently succumbed to temperatures that reached 106 degrees on Wednesday.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management allows only 20 hikers a day to visit The Wave’s dramatically flowing sandstone contours at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona, near the Utah border.
Hikers have to enter a lottery months in advance, often to their disappointment. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says the odds of winning a permit to The Wave are as low as 10 percent, making it tempting to ignore the dangers.