ELK RIDGE — The search for Garrett Bardsley is over for now. Heavy snowfall has shut it down.
Kevin Bardsley, the father of the young boy lost in the High Uintas in August, hopes hunters in the area will keep an eye out for his son or any of his belongings, but he recognizes that searching through 30 inches of new snow would be fruitless.
However, he is asking hunting parties in the Mirror Lake vicinity to watch for skeletal remains and/or any piece of the clothing Garrett Bardsley was wearing when he disappeared: a hooded, black sweatshirt and reversible black and red sweatpants, white Converse tennis shoes or the short, black and chrome ice-fishing pole he was carrying.
Bardsley said Friday he and others have thoroughly searched roughly a three-mile radius in the rugged mountains from where he last saw his 12-year-old son. Garrett Bardsley was participating in a Boy Scout fishing trip when he left his father's side on Aug. 20 at Cuberant Lake to return to camp to change his wet shoes. He apparently became disoriented and lost his way although the campsite was only about 150 yards from the lake.
Hundreds of volunteers and personnel from the Summit County Sheriff's Office searched diligently on foot, on horseback and with dogs for nine days following the Scout's disappearance.
After the official search was halted, the family and a good number of dedicated friends and strangers continued search efforts, returning at least two or three times each week until this past Thursday to scrutinize the rocky terrain.
"We know that it is often discouraging, at the end of the day, when we haven't found him or any signs of him, but we want you to know that every area that we search just gets us that much closer to finding him," Bardsley wrote in an Oct. 11 statement on the official family Web site: www.findgarrett.org.
Bardsley told The Deseret Morning News Friday that he is hoping hunters in the area will pay particular attention to anything they notice that's unusual, "anything at all."
He said the Summit County Search and Rescue team will continue to do some periodic searching and training exercises in the area through the winter.
"I was up there yesterday, passing out fliers and maps to hunters," Bardsley said. "We have information posted at the mouth of the canyon, both directions, and in Oakley asking people to look and what they should look for. But right now, unless the weather warms suddenly and melts everything, we're shut down."