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Heat may have killed hiker found in Saguaro Nat'l Park

A hiker from Illinois was found dead on a trail near Tucson on Saturday, and authorities said the heat and dehydration may have been factors.

Bradley Hughes, 34, of Geneva, Ill., was found on the Gould Mine Trail of Saguaro National Park west of Tucson, officials said.

While the cause of death is unknown, Hughes "had an empty hydration bladder and no other water with him when he was found," a National Park Service spokesman said.

The mile-long trail begins at same point as the King Canyon Trail, near the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and described as a moderate hike without any steep stretches.

"The desert is beautiful this time of year, but can be unforgiving when things don’t go according to plan," said NPS's Andy Fisher. "The park would also like to remind visitors to let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back."

"We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr. Hughes," said Superintendent Leah McGinnis, reminding summer visitors to take extra precautions when outdoors in the desert.

High temperatures on Saturday were in the mid-90s, but can rise into the 100s during the months of May and June.

"The combination of very hot and very dry weather can quickly lead to dangerous situations," Fisher said.

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"Get an early start and plan to be back before 10 a.m.," Chief Ranger Ray O'Neil advised hikers. "Carry more water than you would think would be necessary and be sure to turn back before that water is half gone. Check the weather forecast. If predicted high temperatures are above 110 degrees, consider delaying your hike entirely until the weather cools down."

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