Another hiker's death from falling


On July 27 last year I wrote a blog titled, "Want to die? Falling is all it takes." On May 17 the Albuquerque Journal carried a brief story, "Hiker killed in fall near Questa." I'll repeat the full story.


"A 72-year-old hiker died from a fall in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area along the Rio Grande Gorge near Questa last week.


"Owen O'Keefe, the hiker, was caretaker of the popular La Junta Campground, near the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Red River, according to a State Police news release.


"Officers called to the scene found O'Keefe had died from an apparent fall the afternoon of May 16. Witnesses reported that O'Keefe was out on a hike with another person when he fell about 200 feet.


"Five rescue personnel were called in to retrieve O'Keefe's body for examination by the Office of the Medical Investigator."


(The Journal later reported that the BLM had closed the trail "to address possible safety concerns.") 


If you read through all my posts, you'll see that I report such sad stories in order to draw lessons from them. As the linked blog indicates, falling is a leading cause of hiker deaths—not being mauled by wild animals or other common concerns. One of the effects of age is a gradual loss of stability, but even young people can lose their footing or balance. Whenever a trail will take you next to a dropoff, hiking poles are a good idea.