Woman’s Legs Mysteriously Go Numb During Hike. She Thought It Was a Bite, But Here’s What Really Happened

"She was unable to feel the skin on her legs and could not continue her hike," authorities said

<p>Inyo County Search & Rescue</p> A hiker was rescued from the Sierra Nevada mountain range on June 12, 2024 after her legs mysteriously went numb

Inyo County Search & Rescue

A hiker was rescued from the Sierra Nevada mountain range on June 12, 2024 after her legs mysteriously went numb

A hiker was rescued from California’s Sierra Nevada mountains after she could no longer "feel the skin on her legs," which she initially believed was due to a spider bite — but authorities now say that something else was to blame.

In a news release, Inyo County Search and Rescue said they received a report on June 12 at approximately 6: 30 p.m. that the hiker could not descend from the Taboose Pass Trail. They added that she had been hiking on the John Muir Trail, when she came across too much snow on Mather Pass.

“About 1.7 mi shy of the trailhead, the hiker went to fetch water from the creek when she reportedly got bitten by what she thought was a spider,” read the statement. “Afterwards, she was unable to feel the skin on her legs and could not continue her hike down. She still managed to call for a rescue and relay her coordinates, then her phone battery died.”

Related: 3 Teens Among Group of Hikers Rescued from N.H. Mountain Trail, Officials Say: 'Dangerous Decision'

A team of responders was assembled and drove up to the Taboose trailhead, said rescue officials. They “pushed a wheeled litter up for about 1.5 mi, then stashed it when the trail became too rough to safely continue with a litter for the last quarter mile.”

After evaluating the hiker’s condition, the rescuers walked her down walked her down a tricky part of the trail, with ropes to ensure her safety, per authorities. They brought her to the wheeled litter, and both the hiker and responders arrived at the trailhead before close to midnight.

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PEOPLE contacted Inyo County Sheriff’s Office on June 20 for additional information. A representative from the sheriff’s office told the New York Post that, according to rescuers, the hiker was not bitten by a spider but was accidentally stung by stinging nettles on a part of the trail that is only meant for vehicles.

Related: 2 Mountain Climbers Suffering from Hypothermia Awaiting Rescue from Denali Mountain in Alaska

According to the University of California’s Integrated Pest Management website, stinging nettles are upright plants native to California and other Western states and have stinging hairs that can irritate and blister the skin.

“When human skin comes into contact with a leaf or stem, it often rapidly develops reddish patches accompanied by itching and burning,” according to the website. “Frequently, a prolonged tingling sensation may persist on the affected skin for more than 12 hours, even after visible symptoms have faded.”

Inyo County Search and Rescue’s June 16 statement offered neither indication of the woman’s current condition nor identity. The sheriff’s office confirmed to the Post that the woman is believed to be recovering.

Related: Solo Mount Baldy Hiker Still Missing, 3 Others Rescued After Spending a Night amid Severe Weather

Authorities advised that hikers carry a power bank for their phone or a satellite messaging device since emergency calls usually come from people with a dying phone battery. They also added that the Taboose, Sawmill, Baxter, and Shepherd Pass Tails are not as thoroughly maintained compared to the other trails in the Sierra, As a result, hikers may experience steep grades, tricky sections and route-finding issues.

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