There were many lessons you could have taken away from the movie 127 Hours, but if you had to boil it down to just one, it would probably be this: Never head out on a solo hiking trip to Utah's Canyonlands National Park without telling anyone. Well, Amos Wayne Richards, a 64-year-old from Concord, North Carolina, took away some different lessons entirely from 127 Hours. His lessons were all about the triumph of the human spirit and the fundamentality of man vs. nature and all that other spiritual crap that completely went out my ear the second James Franco sawed his arm off with a dull utility tool.
And so, Richards headed out to Canyonlands to retrace the steps of Aron Ralston, whose harrowing journey through Little Blue John Canyon was the one told in 127 Hours. Well, things didn't turn out so well for Richards, either. On that September 8th trek, Richards took a ten-foot plunge not far from where Ralston found himself trapped beneath a boulder. The fall broke Richards' leg and dislocated his shoulder.
"It took me about 3 or 4 minutes to work my shoulder and get it back in place and once I got it back in place, I stood up and realized my ankle hurt a little bit," Richards told WBTV in Charlotte.
Luckily, park rangers had noticed that Richards had failed to return to his campsite that night, and a search began the next day. His car was spotted two days later parked near the Little Blue John trailhead.
The search was "pretty quick and dirty" once they realized where Richards had gone hiking, [a park spokesman] said. Within hours, a helicopter spotted Richards, who used the flash on his camera to catch the pilot's attention only a couple of miles from his car.
Richards was treated for a shattered leg — which he retained! — and dehydration, and is currently recuperating in North Carolina. Let's hope Alive isn't the next movie on his Netflix queue while he does. [Guardian, Charleston Daily Mail, image via Fox Searchlight]