HELL'S HALF ACRE — Just after 10 p.m. Monday night, Bonneville County sheriff’s deputies responded to the Hells Half Acre trail west of Idaho Falls to a report of two missing hikers. The pair had been hiking with their dogs when severe weather set in, and they were unable to complete the trail loop. Before their cell phone died, they were able to make contact with a relative out of state and give them coordinates to aid search teams.
Several deputies and approximately nine volunteer search and rescue personnel responded to the area in blowing wind and snowy conditions, approximately 12-degree windchill and 40-50 mph winds. Search teams were able to locate the two and their dogs within a few hours and get them to waiting medical personnel. Both were treated for hypothermia and released.
Good planning for emergency survival, including communication to loved ones who could direct rescue personnel made a difference in these circumstances for a successful outcome. Emergencies and severe weather can happen in an instant, and this event is an example of how good planning can save your life. Always take a moment to plan for weather and emergencies in the outdoors, let your loved ones know where you are going and when you expect to return.