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Death Valley Heat Kills 71-year-old Hiker from Southern California

Death Valley Heat Kills 71-year-old Hiker from Southern California

On Tuesday, a hiker from Southern California perished after returning from a trek through Death Valley National Park, the hottest location on Earth. On Friday, the Los Angeles Times reported that Steve Curry, 71, had died from what are believed to be heat-related conditions. Hours after he talked to a Times reporter about the heat while resting in the rare shade of an interpretive metal sign, he was found dead.

When questioned why he trekked in such hazardous conditions, he responded, “Why do I do it?” So, “why not?” Curry passed out after using the Golden Canyon restrooms for a few hours. According to the newspaper, a park visitor dialed 911 from his cellphone, but rangers were unable to save him.

“He went having accomplished something he wanted to do,” said Rima Evans Curry, his wife. “He wanted to go to Death Valley. He wanted to do a hike.” In a record-breaking summer, scorching temperatures have been reported in the famous National Park that stretches along a section of central California’s border with Nevada.

The tweet below verifies the news:

Furnace Creek in Death Valley hit 128 degrees Fahrenheit (53 degrees Celsius) on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. According to Randy Ceverny of the World Meteorological Organization, the authorized keeper of world records, the hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134 degrees Fahrenheit (57 degrees Celsius) in July 1913 at the same spot.

Curry loved the outdoors so much that he signed up for a rock climbing club and attended survival classes. The temperature at the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center was 121 degrees when he returned from his hike. Evans Curry said her husband, who retired ten years ago after working for the Los Angeles Unified School District and as an electrician, enjoyed spending time in nature whenever possible.

“He was always happiest when he could be out there sleeping under the stars,” she said. “That was his joy.” With Curry’s passing, the park has now lost two hikers this month.

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