Couple found dead in Utah wilderness area

July 5, 2013 at 12:52 AM

KANAB, Utah, July 5 (UPI) -- A California couple hiking in a wilderness area in Utah were found dead Thursday, apparently killed by heat exhaustion.

Ulrich and Patricia Wahli of Campbell, Calif., had permits Wednesday to hike to The Wave, a spectacular sandstone formation in the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness Area, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Sgt. Alan Alldredge of the Kane County Sheriff's Office said in a news release temperatures were 100 degrees and above in the area.

Hikers found the body of Patricia Wahli, 69, under a tree Thursday. A helicopter crew spotted the body of her 70-year-old husband 250 yards away.

Ulrich Wahli may have been trying to hike out to get help for his wife, Alldredge said.

"This is a difficult time of year to be hiking in the Wire Pass area of Kane County," Alldredge said. "If you must hike, it is best to do it early in the morning, and make sure you have enough water and supplies."

The Wave, with sandstone weathered into curved shapes that resemble waves, is a popular destination. Only 20 visitors' permits are issued each day to prevent overuse.

The wilderness area includes more than 100,000 acres in southern Utah and northern Arizona.

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