Routt County Search and Rescue navigates busy season
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With two missions Tuesday and several others in recent weeks, it’s been a busy fall for Routt County Search and Rescue volunteers.
On Monday night, they got a call about a hunter lost in far western Routt County. The 26-year-old man had shot an animal, and he made plans to meet his hunting party back at camp before returning to get the animal.
He never showed up to camp.
Volunteers left Tuesday morning to go find him, but the man walked out of the woods shortly after rescuers arrived.
“He spent a pretty scary night in the woods,” incident commander Michael Boatwright said. “It was a new experience for him.”
Boatwright said the man was mostly prepared to spend the night in the woods but did not have a way to make a fire.
Later Tuesday, Search and Rescue was called to help an older woman who fell on the Fish Creek Falls trail near the second falls.
“She had a fairly serious lower leg laceration,” Boatwright said.
Hikers in the area called for help. After rescuers got the woman down the trail, she went to the hospital on her own.
While that call was not hunting related, hunting season is typically a busy time of year for Search and Rescue. There are more people in the woods, and some of those people are not used to the altitude.
“We do see a lot of hunters,” Boatwright said. “It’s quite a bit of a stress test for someone in their 60s. You may be physically fit but maybe not drinking enough water.”
Other rescues this fall have included the rescue of a man who was having abdominal pain “so bad that he could’t walk,” Boatwright said. The man was flown out.
A second man was flown out Oct. 14 after being trampled by his horse in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area near Meeker. The man had a leg injury as well as internal injuries in his torso, including probable broken ribs and a punctured lung. Medical staff had to decompress the man’s lung before flying him out.
Search and Rescue expects the busy season to continue.
“We talk about it all the time,” Boatwright said. “We know we’re getting a call. It’s bound to happen.”