An outdoors writer nicknamed the "guru of trails" died of hypothermia after disappearing on a hike in Mount Rainier National Park last week, authorities have confirmed, ruling the death an accident. Karen Sykes, 70, had written more than 100 stories about hikes in the area and associates say that while she was very experienced and very cautious, her death is something that could have happened to anybody. "It's just something that happens out in the mountains," a friend and occasional hiking partner tells the AP. "Everybody who goes in the mountains knows this can happen. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't go out, you need to be aware of it."
Authorities say Sykes, who was researching another story at the time, had heart disease, which may have contributed to her death, reports the Los Angeles Times. A park spokeswoman says Sykes was with her boyfriend and hiking partner on Wednesday night when they found melting snow had cut off their path. Sykes "is a very strong hiker and she wanted to go ahead, and her hiking partner had chosen not to hike on the snow, so they agreed to meet each other back at the same point," the spokeswoman says. Her body was found in rough terrain three days later after a huge search effort.