ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A wrong turn turned into two days lost in the desert.
Alone and without water, his family feared the worst then, by some miracle, Raymond Herrera was found nearly lifeless.
The sun beating down on the west mesa makes for a wild place, “He was just going to go out there for a little bit and come home,” said Mayra Herrera, Raymond’s wife.
Herrera says on Wednesday her husband Raymond decided to go four-wheeling to a spot in the desert he had been before, “He was very familiar, felt confident, been out there before,” Herrera said. But that night, he didn’t come home.
“He apparently took a wrong turn, got lost and wasn’t sure where he was,” Herrera said. “It got really dark.”
He got stuck – big time.
“He attempted to climb it twice and it fell over to the side and it didn’t want to start anymore,” Herrera said of her husband’s Jeep.
She says Raymond wondered around all day Thursday, thinking he was close to home. He had no food, no water and no cell service.
“I just worried,” Herrera said. “I was just praying.”
She called some of their friends, but they hadn’t heard from him either and couldn’t find him.
By now, he was dehydrated, cramping up and hallucinating.
Then Friday, by some random chance, two hikers came across him. Herrera says they thought he was dead, “They pulled him under a bush to get him out of the sun.”
They hid him under a flat sheet of metal while one went for help, the other stayed back with Raymond.
“We’re lucky,” Herrera said. “My kids feel blessed. We’re blessed.”
His Jeep, hidden in a massive arroyo, wasn’t found until Saturday.
“It wasn’t until I actually drove out yesterday to the area where they found his Jeep that it really hit reality on how bad the situation could have been,” Herrera said.
He was far from home but now, with his family by his side, he’s recovering, “On behalf of Raymond and my family, I want to thank (the hikers).”