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Search and Rescue South finds lost, dehydrated hiker

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Posted: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 6:23 am | Updated: 6:24 am, Tue Nov 27, 2012.

Chaffee County Search and Rescue South found a dehydrated but unhurt Matthew Tow, 25, of Clive, Iowa, Sunday after he failed to return from a hike Saturday on Shavano and Tabeguache mountains.

Undersheriff John Spezze said 20 rescuers from Search and Rescue South, North and the sheriff’s office participated in the search.

Salida relatives notified the Chaffee County Communications Center at about 8 p.m. Saturday that Tow was overdue after a day of hiking, Spezze said.

The search began below Mount Shavano with trail motorcycles looking for Tow until 1:30 a.m. Sunday.

Rescuers continued the search at 7 a.m. Sunday with hikers, all-terrain vehicles and more trail motorcycles.

Searchers found Tow about a mile below the Colorado Trail at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 25, after he spent the night lost on the descent from Tabeguache Peak, he reported.

Spezze said Tow was dehydrated and exhausted but otherwise unhurt.

Tow had planned a day hike and was not carrying the proper amounts of food, water or safety equipment to spend the night, he explained.

Spezze said because of the moonlight Tow kept moving, which allowed him to stay warm, despite not having proper clothing or the ability to start a fire.

He sent short text messages to let his relatives know he was OK, but because of a low cell phone battery was unable to communicate with rescue personnel.

Spezze encouraged hikers to take plenty of food, water, clothing and safety equipment for every outing.

If lost, hikers should stay in one place if possible to allow rescuers to come to them, he added.

More information on what to take when hiking can be found at chaffeesarsouth.org.

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