- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 11, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) When George Metcalfe and Rachel Crowley pointed their rented Jeep down a seldom-traveled dirt road in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, they may have underestimated Utah's treacherous terrain and winter weather.
After a strong snowstorm swept the region, the couple were stranded for six days. Mr. Metcalfe was finally found hiking for help miles away from the couple's vehicle and from where his companion succumbed to the freezing elements.
One of the men who rescued Mr. Metcalfe said the couple, who weren't dressed for winter and had only brought snacks, were trying to navigate a road that even locals consider barely passable in good weather.
The case underscores the caution urged for tourists who test the state's scenic but rugged wilderness.
"My uncle used to always say one raindrop could make the roads slick … one sprinkle and it's enough to strand you," said Shanon Pollock, who, with his father, found Mr. Metcalfe last week.
Mr. Metcalfe, a 26-year-old Londoner, and Miss Crowley, a 27-year-old from Quincy, Mass., flew to Las Vegas together Feb. 22, telling friends they were planning to visit Zion National Park.
On Feb. 24, they reached the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument 1.9 million acres of canyons and plateaus.
"We have a visitors center, and it was open. But we have determined that they drove right past it," said Barb Sharrow, assistant manager for monument services.
The couple entered the monument on a dirt road that Miss Sharrow describes as routinely traveled, but "not this time of year." After reaching a geographic feature called Grosvenor Arch, the couple headed east on a minor dirt road that Miss Sharrow said ordinarily may be traveled by only 20 people a year.
Cattle ranchers Shanon and Vance Pollock were riding an all-terrain vehicle into the monument to check on cows when they saw Mr. Metcalfe.
"He was in bad shape. He was sunburned; his pants were soaking wet. He was wearing shoes like you'd wear to the office, a couple of shirts and some jeans," Shanon Pollock said.
Their Jeep nearly buried by snow, Mr. Metcalfe and Miss Crowley had stayed inside the vehicle for nearly five days, until March 1. With only a packet of Skittles candy, some sunflower seeds and snow to eat, they set out for help. At first they backtracked about four miles from the Jeep and spent the night under a tree. The next morning, Miss Crowley reportedly insisted Mr. Metcalfe continue without her.
By the time he was rescued, Mr. Metcalfe had walked more than 15 miles from the Jeep, and about 11 miles from where Miss Crowley's body was found by a search helicopter.

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