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Richardson Hikers Recall Getting Lost In California

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RICHARDSON (CBSDFW.COM) - Two adventure-seekers from Richardson are back home after getting lost while hiking in California. The couple wondered if anyone would be able to find them in the rough terrain, but a GPS device may have saved their lives.

Ken and Linda Connelly were taking a hike at Sequoia and Kings National Park in central California last week. “Two years worth of vacation saved up in order to do this trip that we had planned,” said Linda Connelly. “And a year of planning.”

But the hiking conditions were much worse than they had been expecting, and what had been reported. The terrain was nearly impossible to navigate. “The trail itself was washed out,” explained Linda. “That’s why we ended up in the scenario that we did.”

The Connellys, who are both experienced hikers, were soon lost. Both suffered injuries to their legs and were unable to walk. “And then it hits you — not only are my plans gone, but I can’t get out,” said Linda.

However, the couple did have the necessary skills to survive. They share almost 30 years of hiking experience and Ken Connelly is a former military scout and medic. But one very important piece of technology is what allowed them to be rescued.

The couple was carrying a GPS beacon device that was able to alert park officials about what had happened and their exact location. “It allows you to send a message, like this,” said Ken Connelly, showing off the gadget. A rescue helicopter found the couple and took them to a nearby hospital.

The Connellys are now recovering back home in Richardson. But their experience will not stop them from hitting the hiking trails again. “You may get conquered by the mountain, but it doesn’t conquer you in the long-term,” said Ken. “A year from now, I’ll be doing this again.”

But a passion for backpacking is not the only thing motivating the Connellys from getting back on the trails. They couple originally planned this trip to shoot a documentary raising awareness about abducted children. They plan to continue that film after they have fully recovered.

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