North Carolina hiker’s “127 Hours” inspired trek has a predictable outcome

Amos Wayne Richards is a 64-year-old gentleman from Concord, North Carolina, who thought he’d hike the Little Blue John Canyon in Utah after seeing it featured in the Oscar nominated film 127 Hours.

That’s all fine and dandy.  I mean really, who amongst us hasn’t been inspired by a book, film, or otherwise, and in doing so, gone off and done something reckless and stupid.  My glass eye as a result of an unfortunate bullwhip accident is a constant reminder of my failed attempt as a swashbuckling, Fedora wearing archaeologist, a la Indiana Jones.

But I digress.

Back to Richards, and his adventure in the Little Blue John Canyon.  Seems the 64-year-old’s hike nearly mirrored that of Aron Ralston’s, the person 127 Hours is based on, after he fell 10-feet, breaking his leg and dislocating his shoulder in the process.  Richards was able to pop the shoulder back in place, but could do nothing for his busted leg.  Valiantly, Richards crawled across the Utah desert in the hopes of making it back to his car.  He survived four days on two protein bars and rainwater before he was eventually discovered by park rangers.

From the L.A. Times

Without cellphone service and only two protein bars to eat, Richards began crawling back to his car across the rocky terrain. He filled his water bottles with rain as he painstakingly retraced his steps, eventually dragging himself almost five miles.

Rangers first began looking for Richards on Sept. 9, after his campsite was found unattended, said Denny Ziemann, chief ranger for Canyonlands and Arches national parks. They discovered his car two days later at the trailhead for Little Blue John Canyon, which is part of Canyonlands’ remote and rugged Maze District but technically outside park boundaries.

“The search was pretty quick and dirty” once they realized where Richards had gone hiking, Ziemann said. Within hours, a helicopter spotted Richards — who used the flash on his camera to catch the pilot’s attention — only a couple of miles from his car.

You’d think after Ralston’s harrowing ordeal, in which he had to cut off his own arm after it had become trapped by a boulder, would serve as a warning to hikers NOT TO HIKE ALONE!  But I guess not.  Richards should thank his lucky stars he only ended up with a shattered leg and partially separated shoulder.  It could have been much, much worse.


Jeff Greenwell is the writer/editor of Last Angry Fan. Jeff has been known to rock a Speedo while belting out Robert Goulet tunes from his front porch, and in his spare time he enjoys capturing and training feral goats to be his minions. Also known to dig a nice brick of cheese from time to time.
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