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Hikers lost on San Rafael Swell

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The Emery County Sheriff’s Office and Search and Rescue was involved in the rescue of three Colorado people on Nov. 22. Those rescued included: Jay Schulz-Heik, 29, Kimberly Brodsky, 28 and Matt Seefeldt, of Boulder, Colo. The three left Colorado on Nov. 18 for a two day stay in the San Rafael Swell, but when they didn’t arrive home on Sunday as planned, family members contacted the Sheriff’s Office on Nov. 22. The family members reported the trio was hiking in the Devil’s Hole area of the Swell.
A search at Devil’s Hole didn’t turn up the missing people. While that search was being conducted, Seefeldt hiked out to I-70 and got a ride into Green River to find help.
Seefeldt was instructed to return to meet Deputy Curtis at the Moore rest area. Seefeldt reported he and two others had started a fire and tryed to flag someone down, but no one saw them. They had arrived in the county on Friday and slept in their vehicle that night. They began hiking on Saturday and spent a planned night out in the desert.
They became lost and didn’t come out on Sunday as planned and spent Sunday and Monday nights lost near Devils Canyon. They had food, clothing and warm sleeping bags, but the food and water became scarce as the time spent in the desert lengthened. They also melted snow for water. They were well equipped with compasses and maps, but became disoriented and they didn’t know the correct route to return to their vehicle which was parked at Justesen Flat.
Seefeldt said the two other hikers were visible atop the knoll they were perched on and Deputy Curtis was able to make contact with them through a loud speaker. The two hikers were instructed how to proceed down to where the posse members would meet them on ATVs. The hikers began the descent and met the posse members who gave them a ride to their vehicle. They were three-four miles away from their vehicle.
Seefeldt is an experienced hiker and had been in the Swell once before, but after becoming disoriented they lost direction on the cliff tops. The hikers were brought out at approximately 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 22 and were all in good condition. The trio reportedly followed directions from a guidebook for hiking on the Swell.

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