Sedona hiker found dead at Utah’s Bryce Canyon National Park after thunderstorm, flash flooding

A Sedona woman was found dead at Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park after a thunderstorm and flash flooding hit the area, park officials said Saturday.

Jeanne Roblez Howell, 64, was reported missing at 7 p.m. on Friday after she was supposed to return from an afternoon hike on the Fairyland Loop Trail.

Howell's body was found overnight in Campbell Canyon, which is a mile east of the trail.

The cause of death has yet to be determined, but officials said a thunderstorm had brought heavy rain and flash flooding to the area Friday afternoon.

Jeanne Roblez Howell's legacy

Students in Sedona are mourning the loss of the beloved math teacher at Valley Verde School in Sedona – a private, international boarding school.

Her children say she was adventurous, an expert hiker, and well-prepared for every emergency – but she wasn’t expecting a flash flood.

"She’s just a beacon of light," said her son Benjamin Howell.

He thought of his mother as being invincible. She hiked Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Olympus in her 50s.

"She’s hiked that exact trail at Bryce Canyon about 10 different times," he said. "She used to carry double the amount of water that she needed, just in case someone on the trail needed help, so she had everything except for a steel cage."

National Park officials say Jeanne’s cause of death was not immediately known, but they do know there was flash flooding in the area where she had been hiking.

Over at Valley Verde School, students and staff created a colorful memorial, adorning her classroom door with handwritten notes and photos.

"I know my mom, and it’s just amazing. I’m so grateful all these students got to experience her. All her past students have been posting about what an impact she made," said her daughter Tess Harrell.

Her daughter says if she had known there was a possibility of flash flooding in the area, her mother would not have gone on the solo hike.

"I just couldn't believe it. If there were any weather advisories she wouldn’t have gone," she said. "But, I have comfort that she was out hiking and doing something that she loved."

Jeanne leaves behind her longtime husband, two children, and nine grandchildren. They say she will be remembered for her adventurous spirit and contagious positivity.

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