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Sheriff's Office Accused Of 'Sandal Shaming' A Hiker Who Had To Be Rescued

Preparation is the key to success, when preparation is at least possible. And when it comes to getting out and about in nature, preparation is definitely possible.

It's not like there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to the outside world. Even when there are, it's not hard to do a little research ahead of time. And it's well worth doing, as one sheriff's office is reminding us.

You can see some pretty amazing sights off the beaten path.

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They take some effort to get to, but they're worth the sweat. Take Arizona's Fossil Creek, a popular spot for folks looking for a scenic swimming hole and a challenge of a hike.

The folks who aren't looking for a challenging hike get one anyway, because the roads don't go all the way to the creek.

From the trail head to the creek bed to the area's main attraction, the waterfall, it's about a 10-mile round-trip.

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And over the first four miles of that hike, the elevation drops about 1,500 feet. In an Arizona summer, that watering hole will be an extremely welcome cool dip.

But then, when the day is done and you've tired yourself out swimming, you have to get out of the area again, which means climbing back up that 1,500 feet.

Despite countless warnings and signs, it's not uncommon for people to get in over their heads.

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The rangers and search and rescue teams that patrol Fossil Creek are used to seeing it by now.

"We've signed the heck out of that area. So people do know," one ranger told AzCentral. "People know, it's just that they don't care. It's all about me, me, me."

It's possible that the rescuers are getting a bit exasperated, because the Gila County Sheriff's Office was accused of "sandal shaming" after a Facebook post about a recent rescue.

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Undersheriff Michael Johnson described a pretty familiar scenario that led up to the Facebook post, telling Yahoo! about a group of hikers ranging in age from 10 to 36 that had to call for help after hiking the five miles to the water and spending the day playing there.

"We arrived about 5:00 at the trail head and were able to get down to the bottom by 6:00. And then, once we got them some electrolytes and got them rehydrated, the rescue was just working our way out with them slowly," Johnson said.

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"I think they hit the top of the mountain about 9:45 that night." Hampering their rescue efforts was one hiker's choice of footwear, strappy sandals, despite the many, many signs suggesting sturdy hiking boots for the trip.

Johnson says that the sandals made the trip back nearly impossible for her.

"The bottom part is the original sandal, but the top part, one of our search and rescue guys kind of fashioned the straps to keep the soles on the person’s feet," he said, describing the photos of the sandals.

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"He just used some medical bandage and stuff that he had with him to come up with that part of it."

Can you imagine trying a rugged desert hike in those?

Reactions to the Facebook post have been pretty uniform.

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Most people have been commenting about the lack of responsibility and common sense on display and suggesting that the hikers should pay for their own rescue for failing to heed the many warnings.

However, at the other end of the spectrum, Johnson says the Gila County Sheriff's Office has been accused of "sandal shaming."

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But of course, that wasn't the point of the post. "We try not to embarrass people or anything like that," he said. "We just want to get the information out there for people to take it seriously."

h/t Yahoo!