Hiker Runs Out of Water, Dies in Badlands National Park

Men celebrating graduation were on an unmarked trail linked to social media challenge
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 24, 2022 10:25 AM CDT
Hiker Runs Out of Water, Dies in Badlands National Park
Badlands National Park   (Getty Images/bennymarty)

A hiker on a trip to celebrate his college graduation died after running out of water and collapsing on an unmarked trail in Badlands National Park. Sheriff's officials said Maxwell Right, 22, of St. Louis died Wednesday of "suspected dehydration and exposure," People reports. A 21-year-old Missouri man who was with him survived and was airlifted for treatment. They were hiking on an unmarked trail that was part of a challenge on social media, though the release didn't say the men were participants in it.

Right's sister, Lucille, said they were just following a trail on a hiking app, not taking part in a social media challenge. The stop in South Dakota at Badlands National Park was part of a vacation celebrating her brother's graduation from Missouri S&T, she said. They intended to go to Mt. Rushmore on Wednesday evening, per the AP. Maxwell Right became lost on his way back to his car, she said. Officials did not identify the other hiker. An investigation has begun, they said.

Pennington County sheriff's officials emphasized that hikers should stay on marked trails and bring sufficient supplies. Temperatures were around 100 degrees in the park last week. "We've said many times, you have to have enough water, water, water," said sheriff's spokeswoman Helene Duhamel, per KSDK. "But I don’t think people understand, and they underestimate the heat, especially in the Badlands." (More hiker death stories.)

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