Hiker who died at ‘Wave’ was celebrating wedding anniversary

Posted at 6:42 PM, Jul 23, 2013

KANAB, Utah – An Arizona woman is dead after she and her husband got lost hiking “The Wave,” a popular natural rock formation on the Utah-Arizona border.

Elisabeth Ann Bervel, 27, and her husband, both from Mesa, Ariz., had won the lottery for permits to make the hike about seven months ago. July 22 was their five-year wedding anniversary.

“They did really come prepared,” said Kane County Sheriff Lamont Smith. “They each had a hydro-pack of water; they took vitamin water with them.”

“‘We were prepared, we just weren’t prepared for getting lost,’” Bervel’s husband told Smith.

Smith said the couple followed the BLM’s guide to hiking The Wave, which includes GPS coordinates and landmarks to navigate the desert. But when the Bervels got turned around and in the extreme heat, Bervel collapsed. By the time medics arrived, she had died.

“She was just too far into the heat,” Smith said.

The trail out to The Wave is rugged. Only 20 people are allowed to make the trip each day, mostly because it’s protected land, but that means it’s easy to get turned around without a well-worn trail.

"It's unmarked and it's in the middle of the desert,” said Utah hiking expert Adam Provance of The Wave. “If you aren't careful with all the heat that bakes off that rock it's easy to get dehydrated."

The same thing happened to a California couple hiking the trail July 3.

But it doesn’t keep people from making the trip, since once the lottery picks you, you go. That’s what the Delahaye family said prompted their hike to the desert formations. But the weather was in their favor.

“It’s easy,” said Bernard Delahaye. “It’s less than three miles to go and three miles to come back, and today it was not very hot, so it was easy.”

Despite the short distance, Smith said, the sheriff’s office gets dozens of calls for search and rescue in the area. He hopes that the BLM and local governments can come up with a solution to keep the area open, but still safe for hikers.

Brevel leaves behind her husband and two sons, ages 5 and 4.