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Third hiker dies at the Wave

KANE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 - Utah) A third person has died this summer while hiking the “Wave” in southern Utah. With the extreme heat this summer, the hike has become that more dangerous.

KANE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 - Utah) A third person has died this summer while hiking the “Wave” in southern Utah. 27 year-old Elisabeth Ann Berval, from Mesa, Arizona got lost hiking with her husband on Monday, July 22. She suffered heat exhaustion and went into cardiac arrest, while her husband went for help.

The hike to and from The Cave does not have a set trail, making it easy to get lost. With the extreme heat this summer, it becomes especially deadly if hikers are not careful.

“It's one of the most amazing places I've ever been,” said Adam Provance.

As a wilderness instructor, Provance is no stranger to the Wave and its dangers. "People don't realize it's on an unmarked trail, across open desert that gets extremely, extremely hot."

Hikers only have access to the Wave through a lottery system with the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM keeps hikers to a minimum to preserve the area. Even before applying for a spot, hikers must watch a 17-minute video. Then the BLM sends hikers another warning in the mail regarding the dangers.

"Hiking in Utah, I’ve come across rattlesnakes, mountain lions, bears ... And what scares me the most is actually dehydration and heat,” said Provance.

Provance says it is not just important to stay hydrated the day of, but the days leading up to the hike.

"The day or two prior, instead of going out celebrating, stay home, drink a lot of water,” said Provance.

When on the trail, trouble can start with a simple headache.

"As soon as you, or anyone in the party feels that way – stop," said Provance. "If possible, find shade, sit down, rest and drink fluids"

When attempting a hike to a spot without any trails, hikers need to be extra cautious. "Turn around, and look at what the trails going to look like on your way back,” said Provance. "People can make it to the Wave, they just can't make it back."

Provance also recommends bringing a map, GPS, and compass, along with plenty of water.

Berval and her husband were celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary on that hike. She leaves behind two sons – 4 and 5 years old. 

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