Luckily, it didn't get to that point, and a family who had been hiking the same route as Velarde stumbled upon the injured hiker in the canyon the next morning around 8 a.m.
"I honestly thought I was imagining them, but I was extremely excited," Velarde recalls, noting that the family called for help to get him rescued.
First responders later airlifted Velarde to the hospital, where he was treated for his multiple injuries, according to KPNX.
As he continues to recover both physically and mentally from the traumatic experience, Velarde says he hopes his story serves as a cautionary tale for people who are considering hiking alone.
"I just want to make sure everyone knows the risks and that it's better just playing it safe on a hike," he shares. "I probably won't be doing any solo hikes soon, but eventually, I will be doing it again. I'll just be more prepared and safe [next time.]"
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