Last August, Winston Branko Churchill, a man who loved the simplicity of the outdoors and despised materialism, left his dog with a woman in Lake City, called two friends to say he would no longer need them to send him care packages, and then hiked into the rugged backcountry.
“Dude, thank you for everything. I don’t need anything else,” was his last message to Jonathan Wrobel of Chicago (via The Denver Post). Churchill’s friends were worried as he hit the Colorado Trail, which connects Denver to Durango, in an act similar to the plot of the film “Into the Wild.” They contacted rescuers in Hinsdale County, which organized a two-day search, but did not find Churchill, a 41-year-old former Denver disc jockey and Silverton cafe owner.
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Then a month ago, Churchill’s body was found. He had died slowly of starvation and exposure in a high valley near an abandoned miner’s cabin. His journal was destroyed by the snow that entombed his body over the winter, but his camera included an eerie video he took of himself starving: In it, he said he had gone 40 days without food, and he thought he would die the next day, October 13, his birthday.
Meanwhile, hikers on the 14,265-foot Quandry Peak near Breckenridge are finding themselves in a quandry more often than in the past. Rescues there are up due to unprepared hikers, according to 9News.