Couples Retreat: Lost on the mountain

In unrelated incidents, two married couples had to be rescued by search-and-rescue teams in the Sedona area on Sunday.

At 6:15 p.m. Oct. 14, a couple that had been hiking on Cathedral Rock for more than 4 hours called for help after they became lost and the sun had set.

According to Yavapai County Sheriff's Office spokesman Dwight D'Evelyn, the 58-year-old man and 46-year-old woman had started hiking around 2 p.m., wearing shorts and T-shirts. They had cuts and abrasions, and the woman had cactus thorns in her feet. They were also worried about the drop in temperature. However, they did have cell phones with adequate power.

While a YCSO Forest Patrol deputy coordinated the response, a team from Verde Search and Rescue was deployed. A flashlight used as a signaling device and the GPS on the cell phone allowed rescue personnel to find the couple around 8:45 p.m. It took another hour to return them to the trailhead.

Meanwhile, at 6:30 p.m., YCSO was notified of another married couple, both age 64 from Northern California, who were lost on Bear Mountain. They, too, were wearing only shorts and T-shirts as darkness and temperatures fell faster than anticipated. They had some food and water, but the cell phone batteries were low.

They told YCSO that they could see the trailhead but could not find the trail back in the dark. They were able to use the light from their cell phone screen to signal Verde Search and Rescue as well as GPS coordinates. They were located around 10:15 p.m. It took two hours to return them to safety.

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