Couple rescued by Routt County Search and Rescue after losing the trail in West Routt
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A couple in their early 60s found that a planned hike in California Park turned into bit of a misadventure.
Routt County Search and Rescue was called to a rescue a few miles east of Baldy Peak after the man and woman realized they risked becoming lost and contacted first responders.
They had set out on the 1144 trail system, which weaves through the California Park area of Routt National Forest north of Hayden. The pair hiked on the trail a few miles before leaving the trail to look for beaver ponds off the trail. When they wanted to return to the trail, they couldn’t find it, said Kristia Check-Hill, who served as incident commander on the rescue.
“They knew where they were, and we knew where they were, but they just didn’t want to go in the wrong direction, which is a good thing,” Check-Hill said. “They made the right call by giving us a call.”
Rescuers were called at 5:20 p.m., Check-Hill said. A team of four Search and Rescue volunteers set out to find them on ATVs and a motorcycle. Rescuers got to the couple at 10:15 p.m. and were headed home, safely out of the field around 1 a.m.
Check-Hill did not know where the couple was from.
The pair had snacks, water and two well-charged cell phones along with a portable power bank, Check-Hill said. They were able to call 911 in an area where they had ample service, which allowed Search and Rescue to determine their location. Check-Hill advised them to stay put, so rescuers could continue to communicate with them via phone. That full charge, Check-Hill said, made the rescue easier.
“We could communicate with them via phone without worrying about that battery going dead or anything,” Check-Hill said.
However, the couple, who did not have rain gear, got a good soak hiking out with rescuers as a squall hit.
“Be prepared for the weather to change,” Check-Hill said. “Make sure you’ve got rain gear and a jacket because, again, that short little jaunt sometimes turns out to be a long night waiting for us to come.”
To reach rescuers, contact 911 as soon as you are lost or injured. Routt County Search and Rescue’s services are always free, though transport in an air or ground ambulance provided by other organizations may incur charges.
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