This summer three hikers died while attempting to reach a natural attraction called simply, “The Wave.” It’s a giant multi-colored rock formation that resembles an ocean wave caught in a frozen position. The formation is very large and is true eye candy. The natural marvel is located near the Utah-Arizona border, near Kaibab.
The route to The Wave is not marked because it is in the designated Wilderness. By congressional decree, Wilderness areas must be protected. This means little human impact and a source of solitude. While in a wilderness area, hikers are to assess the risk of an activity and deal with it. No hand holding.
Elisabeth Bervel, 27, of Mesa, Ariz., died when hiking to it with her husband. The trail from the access road is three miles of desert terrain. He survived while trying to get help. The formation is in such demand that Bureau of Land Management rangers do not want unpermitted people to sneak in. Hikers are given detailed instructions on how to locate the sandstone marvel. Permits are very – very hard to get. Only 20 permits are issued a day for the hike; they are good the next day. Almost 50,000 people applied in 2012 for the 7,300 available day hiking permits, 10 daily permits are distributed each morning good for the next day.
On July 3, Ulrich and Patricia Wahli of Campbell, Calif., died while walking to the wave in 106-degree heat while hiking to The Wave. BLM authorities are re-looking their treatment of the Wave. The concern is that easy and free access would result in damage to the fragile area. Several nearby sites that resemble The Wave are open to all. While not as impressive as the Wave itself, they are indeed equally amazing.
The BLM announced new safety rules that will come into effect in 2014. A mandator, shorter video will be shown to all hikers with more emphasis on letting them know how hard the hike is. But the character of the wilderness will continue.