Resort chief found in good condition
Woodland resident Bob Wheaton said he was forced to spend a night in the forest when his horse became exhausted while he was riding east of Kamas on Sunday.
Searchers located Wheaton in good condition in the Uinta Mountains Monday afternoon. Wheaton is the president of Deer Valley Resort and a well-known businessman in Park City.
"My horse kind of gave out I would tug on her a little bit and let her rest," Wheaton said in an interview in the Uintas. "I knew where I was. It just took a little bit longer than I thought."
Wheaton said he was prepared with rain gear, warm clothing, water and a utility tool.
On his way to Cuberant Lake, Wheaton said he strayed off course about 32 miles east of Kamas.
"It’s rugged I have never been back to Cuberant Lake, and that’s where I was headed," Wheaton said. "I lost the trail and went down thinking I was too far up."
Wheaton said he ended up near the Weber River.
About 25 searchers participated in Monday’s operation.
"It was chilly last night," Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said. "A lot of people were real concerned about him."
Wheaton was missing in the woods for more than 24 hours, Edmunds said.
"He may have been a little bit turned around," the sheriff said.
Wheaton was reported missing Monday morning. His truck and horse trailer were found near the trailhead and Wheaton was later spotted by someone in a search helicopter, Edmunds said.
"He just kind of bedded down last night," Edmunds said. "We think his horse just became exhausted."
Back at work and with his horse safely stabled at home on Tuesday, Wheaton took time out to thank the search-and-rescue personnel who responded on Monday.
"I’ve long been a fan and supporter of search-and-rescue volunteers but I never imagined I’d be on the receiving end. Now, seeing first-hand what was mobilized and how they handled it, I was extremely impressed and thankful," he said.
Though Wheaton says he was never concerned about finding his way out of the forest, he knew people would be worried about him when he didn’t return home Sunday night.
His immediate concern was for his horse who he said "tipped over twice" on the trail.
"Sometimes horses don’t perform on the schedule we want them to," he said.
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East Side mayors say the Summit County COVID-19 related restrictions are experimenting with their businesses’ busy season.