Christmas day hikes end with trips to hospitals - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

Christmas day hikes end with trips to hospitals

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PHOENIX -

The sun was shining in the valley Tuesday and hikers were flocking to trails to work off those Christmas calories, but firefighters were busy, spending much of Christmas Eve and Christmas rescuing injured hikers.

Firefighters say the cooler temperatures and the holiday means more hikers are hitting the trails and for them, that means more rescue calls.

"We hike this mountain pretty often, but it is really steep," said Leah Ray.  "It's a great trail.  There's a few slippery parts, but a nice little walk for Christmas."

On Christmas day, a 60-year-old hiker found himself being carried off South Mountain on a stretcher.  Firefighters say he fell and broke his arm.

"The valley fire departments are typically busy on these holidays with people out trying to recreate," said Capt. Tim Cooper of the Scottsdale Fire Department.

In the last two days, firefighters have made three mountain rescues.  A woman with a possible broken ankle was taken off the mountain in a stretcher near Via Linda in Scottsdale on Tuesday.  On Monday, another woman was rescued after injuring her ankle at the base of the Tom's Thumb trail.

"These trails are crawling with people all over the valley..Phoenix, Scottsdale in particular," said Cooper, who adds that their mountain rescue calls increase during the holidays.  He says hikers who run into trouble are typically inexperienced and unprepared.

"Or we get people who might have experience, but go off trail or decide to trail blaze in the wrong spot with improper gear -- that causes problems too."

Celeste Lumpkin hikes South Mountain routinely and has this advice: "Even if you're local, just taking your time up there makes a difference."

All of the hikers rescued are expected to be okay.

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