Man disoriented after dark near Buffalo Pass, walks to safety

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— A local hunter who became disoriented after dark Tuesday night walked out of the wilderness near Buffalo Pass unharmed Wednesday morning.

Routt County Search and Rescue spokesman Darrel Levingston said the 58-year-old local hunter, who did not want to be identified because he was embarrassed, was hunting birds Tuesday evening near the Dry Lake campground.

"He went out at about 5 p.m. (Tuesday) and just stayed out a little too long," Levingston said. "It got dark before he could make it back to his vehicle and he got turned around, walked past his vehicle and kept walking."

The man was not prepared to spend a night outside, Levingston said. He had a whistle and was accompanied by two dogs, but he had no camping gear. When the man realized he was lost, he stopped and camped for the night.

"He did some very good things that helped him survive," Levingston said, including building a makeshift shelter and using the dogs for warmth. He also told his wife where he was hunting before he left.

"By the time he had stopped, he had gotten pretty wet, and it was pretty cold up there (Tuesday) night," Levingston said.

The man's wife reported him missing at about 9 p.m. Tuesday. Eleven Search and Rescue volunteers began searching for the man at about 6 a.m. Wednesday.

After sunrise, the man figured out where he was and hiked to the Spring Creek Trail, where he met two hunters from California at about 8 or 8:30 a.m. The hunters took the man back to the trailhead, and finally, to his car. The man did not require any medical help, but one of the two dogs had a minor eye injury.

The man did not have a cell phone with him, but the hunters he met Wednesday morning had partial service.

Routt County Sheriff's Office investigators also assisted in the search and were able to track the cell phone of the two California hunters to meet the group at the trailhead.

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