By NIKKI YOUNK
CRYSTAL FALLS - A downstate man who was lost near the Iron-Baraga county line for approximately 24 hours was located unharmed and in good spirits Tuesday evening.
Leroy Carlston, 78, of Muskegon, Mich. was in the area grouse hunting.
Deputies from the Iron County Sheriff's Department reported that Carlston had left Amasa on Monday morning.
He proceeded north to the Grade and kept traveling on ever more remote and unimproved roads until he reached an area crisscrossed with logging roads.
Deputies said that while Carlston was driving around on the roads, he became disoriented and was unable to find his way out.
At 5:44 p.m. Monday, Carlston reported himself lost to 911 dispatchers in Iron County.
Carlston was with his vehicle and had food, water, and a cell phone.
Crews searched for Carlston until about 1:15 a.m. Tuesday. Carlston informed dispatchers that he was comfortable staying in his vehicle for the night.
The search resumed at 7 a.m. Tuesday.
Deputies said that they were able to use GPS locations relayed from Carlston's cell phone provider to concentrate search efforts on the area around Ned Lake in southern Baraga County.
A Department of Homeland Security helicopter that was in the Upper Peninsula on an unrelated matter became available to assist at about 4 p.m. Tuesday.
With Carlston listening and giving dispatchers information about where he heard the helicopter, dispatchers were able to direct the helicopter crew to Carlston's location.
Deputies said that the helicopter crew found Carlston at 4:32 p.m. Tuesday in a remote area of southern Baraga County between Ned Lake and South Nestoria Road.
The helicopter crew then directed rescuers on the ground to Carlston's location.
Deputies said that first responders checked Carlston, who refused any further medical treatment.
Deputies showed Carlston the way to M-28 so he could drive to Rudyard. When asked why he was leaving the area, Carlston said, "because there are no birds here," said deputies.
Assisting in the search were the Baraga County Sheriff's Department, Michigan State Police from the L'Anse Detachment, Iron County Search and Rescue, Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, and the Covington Fire Department.
Nikki Younk's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.