Hiker found after snowy night in North Routt

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— A 25-year-old man was found walking along a four-wheeler trail in California Park on Wednesday afternoon after getting lost and spending a night in cold, wet conditions.

The Wellington man was with a bow-hunting party and went for a hike about 5 p.m. Tuesday. The Routt County Sheriff's Office would not release his name. His party reported him missing at 10:14 Tuesday.

Routt County Search and Rescue started gathering crews at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Initial reports were that the lost man had only a lightweight jacket and could not start a fire but had no medical conditions, search and rescue member Darrel Levingston said.

By noon Tuesday, the area had received 1 1/4 inches of snow.

"He was a young man in pretty good shape. We were mainly concerned about the weather," Levingston said.

Search and rescue had eight members in the field. Most were on ATVs, but two were on horses. Because the hunters were camped deep within the California Park area, it took until 10:30 a.m. to reach the reporting party.

About 4:30 p.m., Search and Rescue members Joanne Richards and Greg Hughey came across the lost man, who had wondered across a dirt four-wheeler trail and started walking.

The man was carrying a space blanket and stayed under a tree Tuesday night, which kept him warm and dry, Levingston said. The man also had water.

"He was actually able to get himself dry and warmed up," Levingston said.

The man did not need medical attention.

Levingston said the mixture of rain and snow left the ground very muddy. He said the mud was so deep it had to be shoveled off the trailers carrying the ATVs.

Five Search and Rescue members worked at the command center Wednesday.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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