ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a popular trail that even experienced hikers keep getting trapped on. A hiker may not have survived the snowy trail, had it not been for her friend who had a feeling something wasn’t right.
“It was suddenly impassable,” said Mary Hosbrough, an experienced athlete from Illinois.
While visiting Albuquerque last month, Hosbrough, who often competes in marathons and races, wanted to try her hand at the La Luz Trail. “I regret not doing better research for sure,” said Hosbrough.
Just a day after a snowstorm in Albuquerque, Hosbrough started up the 7.5-mile trail around 11 a.m. The terrain was fine until she was about a half-mile from the top.”It was just so vastly different,” said Hosbrough.
Stuck in feet of snow, with a dead phone, Hosbrough didn’t know what to do. “My plan was to keep moving, even just moving my arms to keep my heart rate up to keep me warm, just try to make it through to the morning,” said Hosbrough.
Luckily, Hosbrough had a friend waiting to pick her up down at the Tram’s base. “This is weird but I just had a sense that, um, it was going to be a hard finish,” said Kathleen Kaphaem, Hosbrough’s friend.
When their set meeting time came and went, Kaphaem called in search and rescue. “We get a lot of what I call ‘flat-landers,’ people from Indiana, Ohio, Florida, in this area, tourists who are not used to the elevation,” said Bob Rodgers, with New Mexico Search and Rescue.
In 2019, SAR got 35 people off of trails in the Sandia’s. So far this year, they’ve already saved four people. “The Sandia Mountains for search and rescue is the number one area we go to a lot,” said Rodgers.
Crews went up to search for Hosbrough, ultimately finding her around 10:30 p.m. “I had been yelling a lot, a lot, a lot so my voice was just kind of pathetic by then but they yelled to me to stay put,” said Hosbrough.
It took two more hours, but Hosbrough was thankful for all the people, rescue crews and her friend, who helped get her off the mountain. “I really think they saved my life. I don’t know if I could’ve survived the night up there,” said Hosbrough.
Hosbrough plans on entering the lottery for a spot in the annual La Luz Trail Run, so she can finish the hike on her own. That event happens in August.