Houston Man Found Dead in Big Bend National Park


BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK - An elderly Houston man was found dead in Big Bend National Park Thursday.

According to the National Park Service, on July 21, 2022, the Big Bend National Park’s Communication Center was notified of a fatality on Chimneys Trail. When Rangers responded, the discovered a deceased 75-year-old Houston man about a half mile from the trailhead.

No obvious cause of death has been identified.

Chimneys Trail is a 5-mile round trip hike, is moderately-difficult, and features volcanic formations in the desert west of the park.

Deputy Superintendent David Elkwitz stated, “Big Bend National Park staff and partners are saddened by this loss and our entire park family extends sincere condolences to the hiker’s family and friends.”

Like most of Texas, summer temperatures have regularly reached 100 plus degrees. Temperatures in the Chimneys Trail area reached 104 degrees on Thursday and Park Rangers want to remind all visitors to be aware of the dangers of the heat and they should be prepared to carry and drink one gallon of water per day.

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Hiking trails in Big Bend in July..... how bad can it be? And yet many die there every year.

People underestimate the danger that excessive heat can produce.  About a hundred years ago when I was a young man I worked construction during San Angelo summers and later worked in a warehouse in Houston doing fun things like loading trucks and unloading boxcars.  This was hard, physical work in heat.  I quickly learned the benefits of pacing myself and keeping hydrated.

Heat stroke can sneak up on you.  I have seen it happen and very nearly experienced it.  By the time you suspect you might be in trouble you ARE in trouble.

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