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An extra night at McPhee

Running out of gas extends time on reservoir for father, sons

Even though it was raining Tuesday, Oct. 29, an extra night camping on the shore of McPhee wasn't enough for a 7-year-old boy from Durango. After being rescued by United Search and Rescue of Montezuma County, he asked if they could spend another night at McPhee.

A boat camping trip Saturday, Oct. 26, and Sunday night turned into a third night for a father and his two sons when they ran out of gas. An electric trolling motor wasn't enough to get back to the boat launch when the battery also died.

The three pulled into shore and camped, waiting for another boat to come by or possibly a shift in wind to try and make it to safety with a makeshift sail. Being late in the season and not very good weather, no other boats were out on the lake.

"We had a good time. We ate some fish, drank some coffee and some hot chocolate," said the embarrassed father who refused to give his name. "We still had food for another day."

"We were fighting the wind trying to get back and burned up all the gas. Out of gas and out of battery," said the father.

After being 16 hours late to return from their trip, the mother called the sheriff to start a search.

Because he was friends with members of the Durango Search and Rescue, the father had asked his wife to give him a two-day leeway when he went camping before calling out the search party. Perhaps with a 3- and 7-year-old, the mother didn't want to wait that long.

Search and rescue had just winterized their boat, thinking the season was over, but turned out they had one more chance to use it.