Hiker rescued after possible spider bite left her legs numb

INYO COUNTY, Calif. — A hiker whose legs went numb after she was bitten by what she thought was a spider used the last of her cellphone battery to call authorities for help last week.

Officials rescued the hiker from the Taboose Pass Trail in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains after getting the call around 6:30 p.m. on June 12, Inyo County Search and Rescue said in a social media post. The hiker, who was not identified, had begun her hike on the John Muir Trail but moved onto the Taboose Pass Trail to exit the area after she ran into more snow than she was comfortable with, officials said.

“About 1.7 (miles) shy of the trailhead, the hiker went to fetch water from the creek when she reportedly got bitten by what she thought was a spider,” rescuers said.

“Afterwards, she was unable to feel the skin on her legs and could not continue her hike down. She still managed to call for a rescue and relay her coordinates, then her phone battery died.”

A rescue crew was able to get to the hiker and, using ropes to ensure her safety, helped her down a “tricky section of the trail” before getting her on a wheeled litter. The group reached the trailhead just before midnight.

Officials urged hikers to bring power banks to charge their phones during hikes and refrain to from using any battery-draining apps on the trail. They also advised people to consider bringing a satellite messaging device along with them.

“About half of the emergency calls that SAR receives come from a person with a dying phone battery,” officials said.

They added that the Taboose Pass Trail is among several that “are a lot less maintained as the rest of the trails in the Sierra.”

“You might encounter very tricky sections and route finding issues – not to mention very steep grades,” according to Inyo County Search and Rescue.

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