Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
Colorado authorities are investigating what happened to three “mummified” bodies that a hiker found at a remote campsite deep in the Rocky Mountains.
In a Facebook post, the Gunnison County Sheriff’s Office said that a hiker had contacted them on Sunday after discovering a “heavily decomposed” body near the Gold Creek Campground, which is located 27 miles northeast of the town of Gunnison. The next day, investigators from the sheriff’s office and Forest Service personnel managed to locate two more bodies in the campsite, both in an advanced state of decomposition.
The sheriff’s office is withholding the deceased people’s names pending notification of next of kin, but said it did not believe that there was any ongoing danger to backpackers or local residents. Gunnison County Sheriff Adam Murdie told the Montrose Daily Press that there were no signs of trauma on the bodies.
According to Murdie, two of the bodies were zipped inside a tent alongside personal belongings, tarps, and a log lean-to, while the third was located in some trees a short distance away. The report described the bodies as being “fairly mummified” and authorities say they appeared to have had been in the campsite for some time, possibly since last fall. Murdie said it would take several weeks to complete an autopsy of the bodies and determine a cause of death.
“Whether they froze to death in the winter or the combination of starved or froze, that’s what it sure seems like,” Murdie told the Associated Press.
Located seven miles down a dirt road in the Gunnison National Forest, the Gold Creek Campground contains six campsite and a vault toilet and provides easy access to the Fossil Creek Wilderness, a 32,000-acre stretch of forests and mountains, and alpine lakes containing 26 miles of non-motorized trail. Highlights include the summit of 12,500-foot Square Top Mountain, from which hikers can see nearly half of Colorado’s fourteeners. On its website the Forest Service lists the campground as “closed due to inaccessibility.”