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Woman Dies While Hiking Alkali Flat Trail

White Sands National Monument

National Park News

A 23-year old woman from Sheldon, Iowa, died yesterday while hiking the Alkali Flat Trail. Erica Hoekstra was hiking with a friend when she began experiencing symptoms of distress. Erica’s friend quickly hiked back to the trailhead to retrieve additional water and ice from their car and called 911 from her cell phone around 1 p.m. When the friend returned to the scene, she found Erica unconscious and began CPR.  Upon receiving the 911 call, rangers hike about a half mile to her location on the trail and continued CPR. Paramedics from Alamo West Volunteer Fire Department also responded and provided assistance, but were unable to revive her. The Alkali Flat Trail is a five-mile loop trail traversing the park’s dunes. The high temperature yesterday was near 100 degrees. Hikers are advised to be prepared for extreme temperatures and bring at least one gallon of water per person, sunglasses, sunscreen, and high energy snacks. Rangers are investigating the incident.  The cause of death is being investigated by the New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.



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