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Hikers found safe after four days in backcountry

A pair of hikers became lost and spent four days wandering the North Fork backcountry before being found Wednesday night.

A news release from the Park County Sheriff’s Office says Lynchburg, Virg., residents Frank Rose, 38, and Madalina Taylor, 39, set out on a day hike from the Jim Mountain Trailhead on Sunday, June 23, but lost their way.

Residents at the Star Hill Ranch on Road 6BU saw the hikers at a distance on Wednesday evening. Sheriff’s office spokesman Lance Mathess said the ranch residents ultimately called 911 when the hikers lit what looked like an emergency flare.

Sheriff’s deputies responding to the 11 p.m. call found Rose and Taylor on the far side of Big Creek. The hikers reported being uninjured, but too exhausted to cross the high and swiftly-moving creek, Mathess said.

The deputies, joined by Park County Search and Rescue members, found a spot to ford the creek with four-wheel drive vehicles and brought Rose and Taylor across, Mathess said.

The hikers reportedly told the deputies they’d intended to hike to the Trout Peak area and back, but got lost somewhere along the trail. Mathess said Rose and Taylor spent four days and three nights in the backcountry with no supplies before wandering into the Big Creek area and being spotted by the residents at the ranch.

“The couple survived by drinking water from streams and creeks as they hiked,” Mathess said.

The news release said Taylor and Rose were treated for minor cuts by West Park Ambulance personnel before being taken back to their car at the Jim Mountain Trailhead.

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