Above: A map of the terrain Ryan Owens traveled through on his 6.5-mile walk from West Shokan to Denning while he was lost in the Catskills on October 28 and 29 with only a long-sleeve T-shirt and a bottle of water. To view Ryan Owens's walk in a larger map, click here.
Fantastic news from the Catskills this afternoon: Ryan Owens, the 22-year-old who was stranded overnight in the Slide Mountain Wilderness has been found, alive and well.
Donna Mauer, the woman who first reported Owens missing yesterday, tells the Watershed Post that Owens called her son today at 1:20pm, just as she was talking to searchers about the next phase of the search.
"He spent he night in a cave," Mauer said. "He walked all the way to a home in Denning and just knocked on [someone's] door. He's perfectly fine, and Maggie the dog is perfectly fine."
Owens lives with Mauer's son Max in Olivebridge. Mauer said that Owens is being picked up in Denning to be checked out at a hospital for injuries, and then he's heading home.
"I really thought we were going to lose him," Mauer said.
Owens set out on a hike from Moon Haw Road in Shokan around 1:30pm on Friday, October 28, and missed his rendezvous with Max Mauer at 5pm that evening. He was wearing only a long-sleeve thermal T-shirt and jeans and carrying a bottle of water. He was accompanied by the Mauers' dog, a golden lab. After searching for him for several hours, the Mauers reported Owens as missing.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation forest rangers and State Police helicopters searched for a trace of him through the night. The searchers found tracks of a man and a dog, but lost the trail in the early hours of the morning. The search resumed this morning as a snowstorm advanced on the Catskills region.
Mauer reports that Owens said that he became disoriented during his hike and took shelter in a cave with the dog, a golden lab named Maggie, for the night. This morning, she said, he began walking.
The Mauers estimate that he walked seven miles through snow over some of the most rugged terrain in the Catskills to the town of Denning. He knocked on the door or a residence in Denning and called the Mauers.
"He said: 'Donna, I'm so sorry if I scared you,'" Mauer said. "I started screaming, 'It's Ryan!' The detective who was with us couldn't believe it."