FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - A Phoenix hiker waited injured for nearly a full day on Mother’s Day weekend, after falling into a canyon.
The hiker, who wanted to remain anonymous, said his wrists, tailbone and pelvis were fractured, but he lived after falling 15 feet off a ledge.
“He’s a great guy and he’s had some bad luck recently,” the hiker’s brother said.
The hiker who didn’t want to go on camera spent hours stuck and hurt on a Sycamore Canyon ledge.
“I know my mom didn’t sleep at all,” his brother said.
Tuesday, the 34-year-old man was recovering from surgery at Flagstaff Medical Center.
He said around 1 p.m. Saturday, he lost his footing and fell, hitting two ledges on the way down and losing his backpack filled with supplies.
Fortunately, he had left his younger brother with a note showing where he was, instructing him to call police if he wasn’t back by 8 p.m.
The hiker said after falling, he tried to stand for eight hours, but said “it was impossible.”
“I didn’t know if they were going to find me or not, but I didn’t panic. It’d be nice not to die that way,” the hiker said.
He dragged his body to the edge and stuck his cell out as far as he could, looking for service. He couldn’t get enough bars to make a call. Little did he know, it was enough for ping, giving search and rescue crews with the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office and the Arizona Department of Public Safety some direction.
Cold, hungry and with debilitating spasms shooting down his back, eventually a rescue chopper spotted him, but was unable to land.
In what sounded like a movie, the crew dropped the hiker supplies and he gnawed through the packaging to food after only having grass to eat.
At the 17-hours-stranded mark, the sun rose and he was lifted to safety.
Our hiker acknowledged he shouldn’t have gone out alone and his brother offered some advice.
“Stay out of the hospital and stay on the trails,” his brother said.
The hiker expected to be fully recovered in about six months and was talking about volunteering to help other hikers in the future who find themselves in similar situations.