Routt County, CO – In an extensive operation on Saturday, an injured motorcyclist was rescued miles deep into the Morrison Divide/Muddy Slide Trail, far from any passable roads. The mission was carried out by Routt County Search and Rescue, Oak Creek Fire Department, and Classic Air Medical, according to a report by Steamboat Pilot.
The rescue operation began when two friends, while riding motorcycles on the Muddy Slide Trail, experienced an accident around 8:20 p.m., which left one of them with a severe leg injury. Two miles up the trail within the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest, the duo found themselves without cell phone service. The uninjured rider was forced to navigate to the trail’s bottom to call for help.
Routt County Search and Rescue’s John Williams noted that such an accident “could have happened to anyone”, urging recreational trail users to anticipate lots of deadfall on trails. Williams indicated that the Forest Service and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps had not yet had a chance to clear all trails.
The first to reach the injured man was Oak Creek Fire Department around 10:35 p.m. However, due to the significant deadfall on the trail, the journey required a 40-minute, two-mile hike.
Oak Creek Fire Department’s Captain, Bob Reilley, revealed that the trail’s conditions also posed challenges to the Search and Rescue team members on ATVs who were dispatched to the location. In response, Oak Creek Fire provided a wildland firefighter to clear the trail for the Search and Rescue ATVs from Steamboat.
Further support came from Classic Air Medical, which dispatched a helicopter from Glenwood after the Steamboat’s helicopter was already in use. By 11:20 p.m., the injured motorcyclist was flown to the Yampa Valley Medical Center.
Lessons Learned and Safety Tips
This incident underlines the importance of several safety practices for outdoor enthusiasts.
- Firstly, it’s always advisable to engage in outdoor activities with a partner. In this case, the uninjured friend’s ability to seek help was vital.
- Secondly, before setting out, make sure to check the condition of the trails. Be aware that trails may have deadfall or other obstacles, especially early in the season before they have been cleared.
- Thirdly, remember that cell phone service can be spotty or non-existent in remote areas. Consider carrying a personal locator beacon or satellite communication device as a backup for emergencies.
- Lastly, always let someone know your planned route and estimated return time before venturing into the wilderness. Should an emergency occur, this information could be invaluable in orchestrating a successful rescue mission.
These measures won’t eliminate all risk, but they can significantly improve your chances of staying safe while enjoying the great outdoors.