Hiker Lost Feeling To Her Legs Due To This Innocent Looking Culprit
Photo by Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Hiker Lost Feeling To Her Legs Due To This Innocent Looking Culprit

One California hiker needed a rescue after she suddenly lost feeling in her legs. She had been hiking in the Sierra Nevada mountains when she suddenly realized that her legs had gone numb. The hiker feared that she had been poisoned and needed life-saving treatment.

The woman went to get water from a creek along the park's Taboose Pass. That's when she said she felt something sting her. At the time, she thought it was a spider bite. Shortly afterward, she realized that she was losing feeling in her legs.

"Afterwards, she was unable to feel the skin on her legs and could not continue her hike down," Inyo County Search & Rescue officials said in a statement. "She still managed to call for a rescue and relay her coordinates, then her phone battery died." However, she managed to reach help just before her phone died.

Please enable Javascript to view this content

The organization urged, "Always bring a power bank for your phone, don't use anything that can drain its battery, or - better yet - bring a satellite messaging device. About half of the emergency calls that SAR receives come from a person with a dying phone battery."

Hiker Needs Rescue

From there, Inyo County Search & Rescue pushed a wheeled litter 1.75 miles to the immobilized hiker. However, they realized they faced their own issues. The organization explained, "The rescuers 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." They found the paralyzed woman

The organization explained, "After assessing the patient, the rescuers slowly walked her down the tricky section of the trail while ensuring her safety with ropes, then transferred her into the wheeled litter where the trail became stable. Subject and rescuers arrived at the trailhead just before midnight."

So what caused the paralysis? Well, it turned out not to be a spider but a plant. "Rescuers believe that the individual who needed rescuing was stung by stinging nettles located on the overgrown trail," Lindsey Stine of the county sheriff's office told The New York Post.

The hiker had strolled through a patch of stinging nettles on the trail. The plants have stinging hairs which have formic acid. They can cause a burning and tingling sensation.