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SLC Fire crews rescue hiker off Red Butte Canyon trail

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Posted at 1:14 PM, Feb 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-02-23 19:23:44-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City firefighters rescued an injured hiker in Red Butte Canyon Sunday morning.

Firefighters reached the man off a trail behind the Natural History Museum of Utah just before noon, and the call came in around 10 a.m.

It’s a popular hike to the rocky area known as the "living room", which is up above Red Butte Canyon, but after rescuing an injured hiker who had been alone when he fell off the trail, fire officials are reminding hikers to bring a buddy, regardless of how easy it may seem to traverse a given trail.

“We encourage people when they go hiking, even if it’s on a popular trail like this, to try and go in groups, to try and go in pairs,” said Jasen Asay of the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

Hiker Jon Gale was in the area, and he saw signs of the hiker’s struggle.

“I did see a rock that had quite a bit of blood on it,” he said.

Gale had been hiking the trail with his dog when he found an abandoned backpack and fresh blood.

“Somebody might have been hurt, they might have left it behind if they were in a group,” Gale said. “Somebody might have forgot it. But then I saw the cell phone was a few feet away from the backpack, and I thought it might have been more likely that someone might have gotten hurt, so I called police at that time.”

Rescuers went to work trying to locate the hiker and found him about a mile up from the trail head.

“He had fallen off the trail,” Asay said. “He was disoriented. He suffered some abrasions, some scrapes, and he was suffering from hypothermia as well—it’s still pretty cold up there. There’s some snow and ice.”

The victim is in his early 20s and was transported to a local hospital. Authorities wouldn’t say much else other than that he shouldn’t have been hiking alone, as doing so is risky for anyone.

“I saw one other person on the trail,” Gale said. “It was really pretty quiet. There weren’t very many people up here at that hour.”

And, of course, authorities said if you do choose to hike it alone: Make sure you tell people exactly where you are planning to hike and when you expect to be back.