Foolish Solo Hiker Got the '127 Hours' Experience He Deserved

canyonlands, utahNote to self: When deciding on a place to go hiking, maybe choose a different spot than where a guy got trapped in a rock for days and had to cut off his own arm with a rusty knife. Amos Wayne Richards of North Carolina decided to go backpacking in Little Blue John Canyon in Utah after being inspired by the Oscar-nominated movie, 127 Hours, starring James Franco. The movie told the true story of Aron Ralston, a young man who went trekking in the same canyon, fell, got his arm pinned under a boulder, and eventually had to saw it off in order to go find help.

Richards apparently found Ralston's story impressive, instead of cautionary, and headed to the Utah National Park without telling anyone where he was going and without a cellphone. Can you guess what happens next? I'll give you a hint: It involves Richards, search and rescue parties, and a ton of eye-rolling.


Since Richards' inspiration is a guy who suffered one of the most painful experiences a human can have, you have to be a little wary of his intentions. And seeing that he is 64, and not 28 as Ralston was, you have to raise your eyebrow even farther. And when you hear that he didn't tell anyone where he was going like Ralston didn't, your eyebrows have got to be so high now that they're blending with your hair line.

So naturally, Richards fell. He fell 10 feet, dislocated his shoulder, and broke his leg. He was able to pop his shoulder back into place, but he couldn't walk. He spent four days in the desert with only two protein bars and a water bottle full of rain water. Richards slowly followed his footsteps back to his car. He was able to flag down a search and rescue airplane by getting their attention with the flash on his camera. When found, he was just a few miles from his car.

Richards is back home in North Carolina recovering from dehydration and a broken leg, and while I feel a little bad for the guy, I'm not quite sure what he expected. Ralston's story was an inspiration in that it reminded adventurers to be safe, tell people where you're going, and to be less selfish. It's like Richards ignored the positive message entirely and instead decided to make the same, almost grave, mistakes Ralston made ... to what? Get an interview in the paper? Prove he's just as tough?

That's not poignant or impressive, that's just dumb.

What do you think of Richards motivations?


Photo via Rick McCharles/Flickr

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