The search for a 26-year-old woman in the Hermosa Creek area ended Saturday when she walked out to the South Hermosa Creek Trail Head on her own with the help of two hikers.
“They were nice enough to bring the subject back out,” said Tom Brueckner, vice president and training coordinator for La Plata County Search and Rescue.
Search and rescue personnel had advised the hikers to be on the lookout for her earlier on Saturday, he said.
The woman started hiking around 11 a.m. Friday. She hiked up the Jones Creek trail, went north on the Pinkerton-Flagstaff Trail and came down the Dutch Creek Trail.
She was expected to be back Friday evening, and that’s when she called someone she knew for help and two men came to look for her.
After hiking the whole loop, the two men looking for her got nervous and called 911 around 2 a.m. from the top of a ridge, Brueckner said.
The two men likely missed the woman because she slid 200 to 300 feet into the Hermosa Creek drainage. She had to traverse the slope to get back up to the trail, he said.
“She was in great shape, great physical shape,” he said.
The search for the woman started around daybreak and eight people were involved, he said.
The search and rescue team intended to call out two helicopters to help as well.
“Luckily, we didn’t have to do that,” Brueckner said.
The woman had some minor scratches, but she was not seriously injured, when she reached the trail head about 8:25 a.m. Saturday.
Search and rescue personnel stayed in the area until late morning until the two men reached the trail head.
Brueckner advises people to call 911 for help earlier rather than later.
If you need help and can reach 911, the dispatchers can pass along your location to the search and rescue team, which is helpful, he said.
Hikers should always try to be prepared for the unforeseeable circumstances, such as spending the night outdoors, he said.
He also advises carrying a whistle, because it can carry much farther than a human voice, he said.