Motorcyclist rescued miles deep in national forest

Routt County Search and Rescue, Oak Creek Fire Department and Classic Air Medical rescued an injured motorcyclist during an hourslong mission Saturday on the Morrison Divide/Muddy Slide Trail, miles away from any passable roads.

According to Search and Rescue, two friends were riding motorcycles on the Muddy Slide Trail around 8:20 p.m. when one of them got into an accident and severely hurt his leg. Two miles up the trail in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, neither of the men had cell phone service, and the uninjured rider set off to the bottom of the trail to call for help.

“This could have happened to anyone,” said John Williams of Routt County Search and Rescue. “A general warning to our recreating base out there is expect lots of deadfall on trails. The Forest Service and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps have not had a chance to get up and clear all the trails yet.”

Oak Creek Fire Department reached the injured man first around 10:35 p.m. but not before having to hike two miles, taking a total of 40 minutes to reach him.

Oak Creek Fire Capt. Bob Reilley described the trail as having lots of deadfall, making it inaccessible for the Search and Rescue crew members on ATVs, who had already been dispatched.  

Oak Creek Fire brought along one of its wildland firefighters to help clear the trail for the Search and Rescue crew on ATVs from Steamboat.

“We were really lucky that Oak Creek Fire was there ahead of us, and they were able to help clear the trail and get to the subject first,” Williams said. “It was fantastic.”

The Search and Rescue team sent a trailer with supplies and ATVs and contacted Classic Air Medical. Steamboat’s Classic Air Medical helicopter was in use at that time, so Glenwood’s Classic Air Medical dispatched a helicopter instead.

Glenwood Classic Air and Search and Rescue arrived on scene and flew the injured motorcyclist to the Yampa Valley Medical Center, where he arrived by 11:20 p.m.

First responders were unable to get the details of how the accident happened from the injured man.

“Kudos to Search and Rescue for all their assistance in getting the patient out,” Reilley said. 

All responding parties were off the scene around 12:45 a.m.

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