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Man survives 4 days in Utah desert

Associated Press / September 26, 2011

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SALT LAKE CITY - A North Carolina man crawled for four days across the Utah desert after breaking his leg on a solo hike, inspired by a Hollywood movie about a man who cut off his own arm to save himself after being trapped by a boulder in the same canyon.

Amos Wayne Richards, 64, of Concord, N.C., is recovering at home. He said he was inspired to hike Little Blue John Canyon after he saw the Oscar-nominated movie “127 Hours’’ but fell 10 feet during his trek on Sept. 8.

Canyonlands National Park rangers found Richards four days later. Along with the leg injury, he dislocated his shoulder but was able to work it back into place.

“It took me about 3 or 4 minutes to work my shoulder and get it back in place, and once I got it back in place, I stood up and realized my ankle hurt a little bit,’’ Richards told WBTV in Charlotte.

Without cellphone service and only two protein bars to eat, Richards began crawling back to his car across the rocky terrain. He filled his water bottles with rain as he retraced his steps, dragging himself almost 5 miles.

“I was actually following my GPS, crawling right on top of my feet print,’’ Richards said.

Rangers first began looking for Richards Sept. 9 after his campsite was found unattended, said Denny Ziemann, chief ranger for Canyonlands and Arches national parks. They discovered his car two days later at the trailhead for Little Blue John Canyon, which is part of the Canyonlands’ remote and rugged Maze District but technically outside park boundaries.

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