Denver woman survives night lost on Lynx Pass

Judith Bergquist walked eight miles in snow after car got stuck Tuesday


A woman spent Tuesday night lost on Lynx Pass, finding shelter in a small cabin, after her car got stuck and she walked several miles looking for help.

Judith Bergquist, 46, of Denver, walked about eight miles in the snow Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, before her cell phone got a little reception and she could call the police.

"I am really lucky and very thankful for everybody that helped me," Bergquist said on Thursday from home. "I just really appreciate all the help I got."

Her husband called Oak Creek officials Wednesday morning after she did not return home, and people began looking for Bergquist, until she was able to call 911 on her cell phone and was found walking on Lynx Pass at about noon Wednesday.

Oak Creek Police Chief Guytano Farnan would not discuss the incident and referred all comments to Oak Creek Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman.

Bergquist, who works with the Colorado Center for Community Development with the University of Colorado at Denver, visited Oak Creek to meet with Rodeman to talk about a potential trail that could link Oak Creek and Stagecoach. She left the town at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, planning to drive to Stagecoach and then home.

Driving around Stagecoach, she turned onto Lynx Pass, planning to connect to Gore Pass. She remembers in retrospect seeing a sign that there was no more winter maintenance after mile marker 14, but the road looked plowed so she continued.

"And I kept going in my little Subaru and all of a sudden the road was not plowed," Bergquist said.

The car got stuck a few miles later. She tried to dig out, but an icy layer underneath kept her stuck. After an hour without results, she thought she should try to get out of the cold before night came.

She put on all the clothing she had -- light-weight hiking boots, cotton socks, jeans, a fleece jacket and wind jacket, gloves and a hat -- and started walking down the road, remembering that she had seen houses near mile marker 14.

About two miles later, she heard coyotes howl, and her first thought was, "What do they eat?"

With darkness falling and her body chilled, she decided she needed to get into a house. Every house she had seen so far had a driveway with feet of snow and Bergquist could tell no one was around.

She came to a house near the road and hiked up to the front door, but it was locked. She tried an adjacent cabin, and found it was open. Although no food was inside, there was electric heat and a small stove where she started a fire to dry her clothes.

She slept, wishing she could let her husband and son know she was OK.

Bergquist woke early Wednesday morning, made gaiters out of cellophane and aluminum foil, and decided to keep walking down the road with the goal of getting to milemarker 5, where she was sure there were homes. By milemarker 10, she found a ranch. The house was locked but her cell phone had reception -- barely.

She tried to call her husband, then 911 with no luck. She tried her work number and got through briefly, and then reached 911. Police were soon on the way, and brought her back to Oak Creek.

Rodeman helped get the road plowed to Bergquist's car, so they got the car out in the afternoon. Bergquist spent the night in Oak Creek at Rodeman's home and drove back in the morning.

When Bergquist was found, Rodeman -- who had been driving around all Wednesday looking for her -- said she was "a little cold and a little hungry and in incredibly good spirits."

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