Search for missing hiker bit of a ‘wild goose chase’
A 64-year-old man was rescued Monday, July 20, from the area near Monarch Lake after becoming disoriented.
Tim Gorske, of Avon, Ind., activated his emergency locator beacon on Sunday morning, July 19, after wandering off trail.
Gorske signaled a Civil Air Patrol aircraft that was participating in the search with a mirror, according to a press release from the CAP.
Fourteeth Judicial District Attorney Brett Barkey was part of the aircrew that spotted Gorske.
The aircraft then relayed Gorske’s position to members of Grand County Search and Rescue who were able to make contact with him on the ground, according to a press release from GCSAR.
“He was very lost and disoriented, and that’s why he did hit his beacon and try to signal the plane we had,” said Lt. Dan Mayer with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office.
“He was a ways off the trail. He got twisted around on some trails.”
Gorske intended to hike from the Devil’s Thumb Trail to Monarch Lake and onward to Grand Lake where he had reservations at Shadowcliff Mountain Lodge, Mayer said.
However, Gorske became disoriented some time after passing Meadow Creek Reservoir on Saturday, July 18.
Gorske arrived in Fraser on July 16 via Amtrak, and trip lag may have had an effect on his ability to navigate the backcountry, Mayer said.
“He was very exhausted; he got lost,” Mayer said. “He underestimated how much the trip took out of him.”
After spending a night off of the trail, Gorske activated his beacon on Sunday morning, according to GCSAR.
GCSAR was notified around 10:37 a.m. and initiated a search in the area between Meadow Creek Reservoir and Monarch Lake, according to a press release.
The Air Force Rescue Coordination Center periodically updated GPS coordinates from Gorske’s beacon on Sunday, but difficult terrain limited the beacon’s accuracy, providing “somewhat ambiguous and even misleading” coordinates to rescuers, the press release stated.
“It was like a wild goose chase there for a while,” said Greg Foley with GCSAR.
Search and rescue teams entered the area from both Monarch Lake and Meadow Creek Reservoir.
ATVs, horses, rescue dogs, and aircraft all assisted in the search, Mayer said.
Gorske’s son also traveled to Grand County from Indiana to assist in the search.
Search teams left the field on 1:30 a.m. Monday and resumed the search later Monday morning, according to GCSAR.
Signals from Gorske’s beacon ceased between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Monday.
Around 11 a.m., Gorske used a mirror to signal a Civil Air Patrol aircraft in the area, according to the CAP.
When Gorske was spotted, a search team was within a few hundred yards of his location, Foley said.
Gorske was able to walk out to Monarch Lake on his own power, Mayer said.
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