Colorado Rescuers Conduct Two Rescue Missions in One Day for Kayaker and Hiker in Remote Area

by Sean Griffin

The San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office used their air resources in not one but two rescue missions that took place in remote Colorado on Saturday.

The first mission took place when a report was received of a hiker in the area of Mount Wilson with a lower extremity injury.

San Miguel County air officials helped located the hiker. Dolores County Search and Rescue team saved the hiker via a High Altitude Training Center Helicopter. Later, units took the victim to a local hospital.

San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office air resources deployed for a second mission: a search for a missing kayaker. The kayaker went missing somewhere on the San Miguel River between Norwood and Naturita. Ultimately, they located him near Naturita. He was found unprepared for a continued trip. He received transport to safety.

Both missions were successful, fortunately. The successful missions speak to the preparedness and quick action of Colorado first responders. A special thanks to the San Miguel County Sheriff’s Office, San Miguel County Search and Rescue, the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office, Telluride Fire Protection District, and the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in both rescue missions.

Moreover, if you’re interested in supporting Colorado’s volunteer-powered search and rescue operation, one way you can is by purchasing a CORSAR card. It’s cheap: only $3 per year.

However, another incident in the state captured by teenagers shows the brutality of nature in Colorado.

Colorado High Schoolers Film Mountain Lion Attacking Elk

On Wednesday, February 9th, a few high school students encountered a mountain lion attacking an elk in Routt County, Colorado. One of the teens caught the incident on video.

“Check out this video sent in by RMEF follower Hoyt Raffay outside of Oak Creek, Colorado,” the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation wrote in a video caption posted Thursday, Feb. 10, on Facebook.

The foundation’s post had more than 1,300 shares by 3 p.m. the next day. Nearly 100 people commented on the video as well. While some were rooting for the elk, others wanted the mountain lion to get its meal.

Reached by the local newspaper, Raffay told them he submitted the video to the foundation. However, the clip was actually captured by his 15-year-old friend Tanner Cole-Wheeler. He was riding in a pickup truck driven by 18-year-old Sophia Benjamin when they observed the attack.

Benjamin said the group of four students from Soroco High School were headed from the Stagecoach area to Oak Creek on County Road 14 at about 11:30 p.m. Wednesday when they saw something coming off the hill.

Soon, they realized they were witnessing a mountain lion attacking an elk. Then, they watched the attack for about fifteen minutes until they were pretty sure the elk was dead.

“I’ve seen elk and other wildlife, but I’ve never seen a mountain lion before, so it was a very cool and a rare thing to see,” Benjamin said.

For Cole-Wheeler, who has seen mountain lions before, it was a neat experience. On the other hand, for Benjamin, it made her reflect on living in such proximity to wildlife.

“In Routt County, wildlife is a common sight, so much so that it’s easy to take some of those for granted,” Benjamin explained. However, to see a mountain lion take down an elk like the group did earlier this week made the young girl appreciate her surroundings more.