A 27-year-old woman died last weekend while hiking in Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park, the Death Valley National Park and Inyo County Sheriff’s Office reported Tuesday.
The woman and her aunt started their hike from the sand dune parking lot around 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. The pair split up around 11:30 a.m.; the aunt returned to the parking lot and the woman said she would return in one or two hours. The woman was an experience hiker, according to the agencies.
After a few hours, the aunt hiked back into the dunes but was unable to locate her niece. She contacted park rangers around 5 p.m. to report her niece overdue.
Park rangers searched unsuccessfully that evening. A larger group of park rangers searched the next morning. Around 9 a.m., one of the search teams found tracks matching the missing woman’s hiking boots.
The deceased woman was found at 9:22 a.m. She was in the flats north of the sand dunes, about 1 ½ miles from the parking lot. Park staff used a wheeled litter to carry her body to the parking area.
The Inyo County Coroner’s Office is investigating, however, foul play is not suspected.