The Utah County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team saves people all the time, but the team never rescued 33 people at once until last weekend.
Thirty-three campers who went on a four-hour hike while on their LDS Church camping trip were lost for 10 hours between Nebo Loop outside Payson and Mona's Pole Canyon Friday afternoon.Twenty-eight girls between the ages of 12 and 17 and five adults strayed from the White Pine Hollow trail that runs through Santaquin Canyon.
The group set out at about 10:30 a.m. Friday. When they hadn't returned by late afternoon, leaders who were not on the hike called rescuers.
They group was found tired but uninjured at about 8:30 p.m. They had taken an off-road trail that took hikers southwest instead of northwest, and the planned five-mile hike turned into a 15-mile trek.
Sheriff's Sgt. Pete Bell said a few in the group appeared to suffer from heat exhaustion and dehydration.
"That's the most I can ever remember being lost at one time," Bell said.
Each girl took a bottle of water, but that was gone by midafternoon.
"I've never felt thirst that bad," said Susan Zollinger, one of the leaders of the hike, designed as part of the Girls Camp camping certification. "We have been joking that these girls should be certified for the next three years."