A harrowing ordeal for a family who spent 3 days lost in wilderness area near Silverton came to a happy end on Monday evening when the family’s father and 3 young children were found by a another group of hikers.
33-year old Dustin Beaver and his children – two boys, 6 & 8 years old, and an 8-year-old girl – had gone hiking on Saturday but failed to return when they were expected. Beaver’s wife went to look for them and found his car parked at Cave Basin Trailhead north of Vallecito Lake, then contacted authorities to report them missing.
Investigators say two different groups of hikers reported seeing and speaking to the family while they were hiking near Dollar Lake on Saturday, which sits at an altitude of nearly 12,000 feet. The search effort went on throughout the weekend as several helicopters scoured a 15-square-mile area looking for any sign of the family.
Beaver and the children were finally found by another group of hikers on Monday who guided them out of the area. Paramedics checked out the entire family after they were found. The LaPlata County Sheriff’s office says hikers can easily get confused by the multiple livestock and game trails in the area, several of which lead to very steep, rugged terrain.