Backpacker

Fall from a Cliff

THE BLUE UTAH SKY filled my vision as I lay motionless on my back. My right arm was bent at a grotesque angle, my back felt like it had been shattered by a boulder, and I couldn’t move one of my feet. Only one person knew where I was, and she’d left me like this an hour ago.

It was April 2008, and my friend Brie and I had just started a 3-day loop hike of Fish and Owl Canyons in southeastern Utah. Trail descriptions warned about minor route-finding challenges and short scrambles over drop-offs and pour-overs, but we

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