Hiker Rescued in Sierra Nevada After Being Partially Paralyzed by a Plant

Hiker Rescued in Sierra Nevada After Being Partially Paralyzed by a Plant

Snowpack on the Eastern Sierra Nevada in Inyo County, near Lone Pine, Calif., on April 7, 2023. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

Summer Lane
Summer Lane


Updated: 6/24/2024


A search and rescue team located a hiker in Inyo County earlier this month—about 2 miles from a trailhead near Bishop, California—prompting officials to remind visitors in the Eastern Sierra Nevada mountains to keep their cellphones charged in case of an emergency.
Inyo County Search and Rescue received a call June 12 at 6:30 p.m. for a hiker stranded on Taboose Trail after running into snow on the Sierra Nevada range leading into Kings Canyon National Park.
According to authorities, the trail is the “nearest exit out of the Sierra Nevada, so she took it.”
The hiker, who has not been identified, was bitten by “what she thought was a spider,” rescue workers said on Facebook. After the bite, she “was unable to feel the skin on her legs” and could not finish her descent to the trailhead, authorities said. She managed to call for a rescue, they added, then her phone battery died.
Authorities confirmed June 24 that the woman was not bitten by a spider, but instead was injured by the inflammatory hairs on a local plant called Stinging Nettle, which left her partially paralyzed.
A spokesperson for the Inyo County Sheriff’s Office confirmed June 24 the woman is doing well.
Taboose Trail is considered “strenuous” by the U.S. Forest Service with a 6,000-foot elevation climb to prominent peaks in the Sierra Nevada known as the Cardinal and Goodale mountains.
Inyo County Search and Rescue, which is all volunteer, responds to more than 50 calls every year, largely along the Mount Whitney Trail in the Eastern Sierra Nevada region.
Regarding their latest rescue, responders took the opportunity to remind hikers to bring a power bank for their phones when they’re on the trail.
“About half of the emergency calls that [we receive] come from a person with a dying phone battery,” the team stated.
They also said the Taboose Trail, along with the Shepherd Pass, Baxter, and Sawmill trails—all within the Sierra Nevada network—were largely unmaintained compared with other high-traffic trails in the mountains.

Summer Lane is the bestselling author of 30 adventure books, including the hit "Collapse Series." She is a reporter and writer with years of experience in journalism and political analysis. Summer is a wife and mother and lives in the Central Valley of California.

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