A young man lost overnight near Priest Gulch has returned to camp safe and sound.
Local search and rescue teams combed the Priest Gulch campground area overnight for Jacob Laube, 15, of Bluefield, Ariz., was reported missing late Wednesday after he didn’t return from a nature hike on the Calico Trail. Camping with his father and friends, the boy reportedly left the campground to take photographs.
Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell said grounds crew searched for the missing teen overnight and into Thursday on foot, by horseback and motorcycle and from the air. At about noon Thursday, Laube wandered back to camp safe, but hungry, Spruell said.
“He wolfed down two hot dogs pretty quick,” said Spruell.
Instead of returning on the trail, the boy reportedly decided to follow a creek back to camp late Wednesday, but got turned around. Wearing a T-shirt and shorts, the boy lay down to rest about 9:30 Wednesday night and covered himself with leaves to stay warm. “He was a smart young man,” Spruell said.
A total of 18 people from Montezuma County Search and Rescue, Civil Air Patrol, Sheriff’s Posse, Circle K Ranch and Priest Gulch Campground assisted with the search efforts.
“I want to thank everybody for dropping their Fourth of July plans to come help,” Spruell said.
Suffering only a few minor scrapes, the boy reported seeing deer and elk, and thought a wolf sniffed his leg in the middle of the night.
“I don’t know if that happened, but I do know that he’s safe and sound,” Spruell commented.
Priest Gulch Campground is located about 35 miles north of Cortez along Highway 145.