Denver woman among 4 who died in Utah hiking in heat this summer

Hiker collapses at National Monument in Utah

PANGUITCH, Utah - Authorities are providing more details about a Denver woman who died earlier this month while hiking in temperatures near 100 degrees in southern Utah.

Garfield County sheriff's deputies say 35-year-old Cindy Marie So had been hiking with a friend July 4 near the Spooky Gulch slot canyon in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument when So began struggling in the heat.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that despite packing three liters of water plus a 32-oz. bottle of Gatorade, So ran out of fluid after she and her friend got lost hiking.  So's friend left her about a quarter-mile from the trailhead to fetch water and seek help.

Officials say the friend returned to find So mumbling incoherently. Another couple hiking in the area found them and poured water over So while her friend ran back to the trailhead to call 911. When Lewandowski returned 40 minutes later, So had no pulse and was not breathing.

So's friend performed CPR until rescuers arrived.

Deputies say medics flew the woman to a hospital in Page, Ariz., but were unable to revive her.

The temperature that day was near 100 degrees, deputies wrote.

So is among four hikers who have died this summer hiking in southern Utah. The other three died while hiking The Wave rock formation in Kane County.

According to her online obituary, So graduated from Cornell University and earned a MS degree in biomedical science at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and completed the pre-med program at Columbia University. She was recently finishing her education at Rocky Vista University, College of Osteopathic Medicine in Denver.

So was a teaching assistant during her time in college and was also a medical assistant.

"Cindy was full of life with an infectious laugh. She enjoyed hiking, skiing, music, hanging out with friends and spending time with her nephews. The world has lost an amazing individual and future doctor and will be greatly missed. A gathering of friends and family will be held at the home of Sherwin and Debra on Saturday, July 27. Memorial contributions can be made to the Make-A-Wish Foundation," her online obituary read.

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