California hiker calls for rescue when legs go numb after mysterious bite

Inyo County Search and Rescue attend to the bitten hiker
(Image credit: Inyo County Search and Rescue)

A hiker in California was forced to make a desperate phone call to search and rescue services when he legs went numb following a mysterious bite by an unknown critter – possibly a spider.

In a Facebook post, Inyo County Search and Rescue detailed how the unnamed woman had been hiking northbound on the John Muir Trail on the Sierra Nevada, but had taken a detour onto Taboose Pass “when she encountered too much snow for her comfort level on Mather Pass.”

Around 1.7 miles from the trailhead, she went to get water from a creek when she was, “bitten by what she thought was a spider.” 

Following the bite her legs went numb. “She was unable to feel the skin on her legs and could not continue her hike down,” says the Inyo County Search and Rescue post. 

She called for help around 6:30pm Wednesday, June 12, luckily managing to pass on on her location just before her cellphone battery died. 

A team of rescuers drove up to the Taboose trailhead, taking a wheeled litter (a kind of stretcher used in emergency situations in rugged situations) with them. But the last quarter mile proved too rough even for the litter. 

So when they located the hiker, but they had to assist her walking down the first “tricky section” of the trail, ensuring her safety with ropes, They then placed her on the litter and reached the trailhead just before midnight. 

Pointing out that, “About half of the emergency calls that Search and Rescue receives come from a person with a dying phone battery,” Inyo County Search and Rescue urged hikers to bring a back-up power bank for their phone and avoid using any features that could potentially drain their phone’s battery. Playing Candy Crush Saga or listening to the latest Taylor Swift album could seriously damage your health on the trail – just enjoy the scenery instead. And remember how to make yourself searchable when disaster strikes on a hike.

They also warned,  “While we’re talking about Taboose Pass trail, we’d like to remind everyone that Taboose, Sawmill, Baxter and Shepherd Pass Trails are a lot less maintained (than) the rest of the trails in the Sierra. You might encounter very tricky sections and route-finding issues – not to mention very steep grades.” 

And bitey spiders.