Ambitious Hike Proves Too Much For Three Men


Three Scottsdale men were left shivering and waiting out a dark night about 10 miles west of Payson Sunday after running out of water.

One was able to make it to a remote ranch west of Payson, and the other two were found by members of the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad.

Bill Watson, 68, Richard Bauman, 57, and Glenn Anderson, 71, left the Pine Trailhead about one-half mile south of Pine for a one-day hike on Sunday. Dressed in T-shirts, shorts and carrying water, the trio took the Saddle Ridge Trail to the Mazatzal Wilderness boundary -- a 20-mile hike, said Mike Taylor, the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad commander.

"That is one rough trail. It is very rocky and not well marked," Taylor said. Despite using a global positioning system, the men lost the trail a few times and eventually ran out of water and light, Taylor said.

When one of his companions was showing signs of dehydration, Watson hiked to the LF Ranch, west of the Doll Baby Ranch, to ask for help. Rancher Mary Ann Pratt was home and they were able to call the Gila County Sheriff's Department for assistance. Deputy Terry Hudgens then called in the Tonto Rim Search and Rescue squad. The two remaining hikers were located at about 2 a.m. Monday morning east of the Doll Baby Ranch.

Besides the use of a cell-phone, Pratt loaned the rescuers horses to carry the weakened hikers back to civilization, Taylor said. Other than being cold and weak, the three men required no further medical assistance from their rescuers.

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