Police Department Denies ‘Sandal-Shaming’ Naive Hiker After Hours-Long Rescue

A sheriff’s office in Arizona sent a statement out saying they never intended to “sandal shame” a female hiker who had to be rescued from a treacherous 10-mile hike as she struggled with inadequate footwear.

A representative for the police department said that they were merely trying to use her story as a warning to others to not make the same mistake.

“This hiker failed to take the posted warnings seriously as she and seven others had to be rescued out of Fossil Creek yesterday. Definitely not appropriate footwear for the ten mile hike,” the sheriff’s department had posted on Facebook along with photos of the sandals she was wearing.

The post quickly went viral, with many social media users slamming the woman for making the “stupid” decision to wear the sandals.

“No common sense anymore…they need to pay for the rescue!” one person commented, with another adding, “Such a waste of resources! Be prepared, seriously. It’s hot in Arizona!”

“There are snakes etc.. wear hiking shoes…take extra water…bananas…etc,” a third user wrote. “Be smart or stay home. Thank you Gila County Sheriff’s Office for a successful rescue and for telling it like it is.”

However, others accused the sheriff’s office of “sandal shaming” the naïve hiker.

“We try not to embarrass people or anything like that. We just want to get the information out there for people to take it seriously,” Undersheriff Michael L. Johnson said as he explained their decision to share the story online.

He explained that the woman was part of a group of eight people who ventured five miles down the Fossil Creek Trail and attempted to turn around at about 4 p.m. on April 26. They soon realized they needed to be rescued, partly because the woman’s sandals made it “nearly impossible” for her to climb back up the trail.

“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. “I think they hit the top of the mountain about 9:45 that night.”

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