Last week, 64-year-old North Carolinian Amos Richards left his campsite in the Canyonlands National Park Island the Sky District, drove across the lacework of dirt roads in Robber’s Roost, and attempted to enter Lower Blue John Canyon between West Blue John and Lower Blue John. He slipped and fell 10 feet, fracturing his right leg and suffering internal injuries. Because he hadn’t told anyone his intended destination or left a note on his vehicle or in his campsite, and because he couldn’t walk, he began to crawl across the sandy, sage-covered desert.
“He had no overnight gear, warm clothes or a map,” said ranger Denny Ziemann, “but did have five liters of water and two power bars with him.”
Richards crawled for four days and three nights and was rained on several times. Unlike in Ralston’s case, no one called to report him missing. Only blind luck saved his unprepared hide: Curious rangers in Island in the Sky investigated his abandoned campsite in Willow Flat campground and two days later a search was launched. He was spotted — yes, by helicopter — near Little Blue John at two in the afternoon and was flown, as was Ralston, to Moab Regional Hospital.