A hiker, stranded in the woods of northern New Mexico and suffering from “dangerously low” body temperature was rescued after two weeks on his own, authorities said Tuesday.
Another hiker, identified as John Utsey, and his daughter came upon the man and called for help on Saturday, according to the Santa Fe Fire Department.
The unidentified hiker, a man in his 50s, was in a steep ravine that was hard to see and even more difficult to reach.
“He was down a deep a ravine, not even on a trail,” Santa Fire Fire Department Assistant Chief Brian Moya said. “It’s the bottom of a canyon that was hard to access. If you were on a trail hiking, you wouldn’t have seen him or heard him.”
The search crew immediately gave food and water to the lost hiker and built a fire for him when they arrived on Sunday off Windsor Trail, officials said.
“They built a fire to bring up the man’s body temp which was dangerously low, fed him and gave him water,” according to a fire department statement. “The man suffered from chronic back pain and again injured his back while hiking and could not stand or walk.”
The hiker was lost inside Santa Fe National Forest and the Santa Fe Ski Basin, about 15 miles north of downtown Santa Fe. It’s a popular ski range in the winter, a hiking and camping locale in the summer.
The high temperature in Santa Fe has topped 89 degrees every day this month. But at such a high altitude, temperatures at night have been regularly dipping into the 30s.
“Where he was, about 12,000 feet, 10,000 feet, so he was way above” the 7,200-foot elevation of central Santa Fe, Moya said. “So it gets really cold up there, even in the summer time.”
He was taken to the hospital and expected to survive his injuries from the ordeal.