Chore turns into overnight adventure

Sherrie Cerutti

Sherrie Cerutti

Kit Harris said her overnight stay in the cold desert of Stagecoach won't hinder her love for adventure.

"I will continue rock hunting," an admittedly exhausted Harris, 63, declared Friday morning after spending more than 12 hours stuck in the Stagecoach desert.

Harris said the trouble began on Super Bowl Sunday when she decided to go rock hunting.

She left her Stagecoach home about 9:30 a.m. and headed into the mountain range north of the Iron Mountain development. But luck wasn't on her side that day. A flat tire cut her hunting trip short and Harris spent hours walking out. By the time she got home, the Super Bowl, which started at 4:30 p.m., was in the third quarter.

At work, Harris mentioned her plight to friend Tom Seesoltz. Seesoltz agreed to help her retrieve her truck.

About 4:30 p.m. on Thursday they headed back into the mountains. The landscape was unforgiving. Seesoltz's truck got mired in the mud.

The duo attempted to walk out, but their location was farther than they anticipated.

"So Tom said we needed to stop while we still had cell contact. He built a nice little fire in a fire pit and I called my husband and he called his wife and we told them to call 911 for us," she said.

Search and Rescue crews from both Lyon and Washoe counties converged on the area spending hours trying to locate the duo through directions they provided using their cell phones.

The terrain was too rugged to traverse by vehicle. A National Guard helicopter located them by 11:30 p.m., but there wasn't a clear shot for rescue. Guardsmen tossed down supplies: blankets, water and food.

They hunkered down for the night.

"I was never afraid. I was safe, I was being guarded and I knew God was with me," Harris said. "I couldn't have done it without Tom."

She said she didn't see any of the animals most commonly feared in the desert. There were no coyotes or snakes. Just horses and a lizard.

Lyon County Sheriff's Capt. Alan Veil said that just before 6 a.m. Friday, rescuers Robert Rowley and Harry Bryant reached Harris and Seesoltz. The 20-degree night had wreaked havoc on Harris' lower back and she had some "discomfort," she said.

The group made it back to civilization at 8:22 a.m., Veil said.

"Robert was so patient with me in getting me out. He took his time. You know, I'm not 25 years old," she said. "I really appreciate their work. They were just so kind and wonderful. All of search and rescue was wonderful."

-- Contact reporter F.T. Norton at or 881-1213.


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