Sherman man found dead at park near Portales after hiking mountains for 3 weeks – KFDA

PORTALES, N.M. (KFDA) – Sherman man found dead on his way home on Friday at a park near Portales after hiking different mountains for week’s.

According to The Eastern New Mexico News, 36-year-old Doug Eaton contacted his mother late Thursday afternoon, telling her he would reach her home near Amarillo in about four hours.

He was planning to take a short nap at Oasis State Park near Portales.

Family members said they did not hear from him again and later his body and pickup truck were found Friday morning at the park.

Doug Eaton loved mountain climbing. That’s where he’d been the past three weeks, hiking up 23 different peaks, each at least 14,000 feet high.

His long time friend Douglas Branch said he had known Eaton, since they were childhood friends in McKinney. Eaton had moved to Sherman, and Branch to Galveston, but they still kept in touch regularly. They’d texted just a few days ago.

“I have a group message with him and another best friend,” Branch said. “He was in Colorado (where a sister lives) and he’d just finished his last mountain. He was spending the day there and then headed back home. I just know he was doing what he called 14ers. He’s a rock-climbing enthusiast and he would go to all these different peaks. He hadn’t been able to do it for a long time because he has two small kids, seven and five. So this was a (special) vacation for him.”

Branch said Eaton’s girlfriend “made him keep an active tracker on him” in case he got hurt on a mountain.

“We all understood this is what he liked doing, but we know it’s a dangerous hobby,” Branch said. “He promised it was safe.”

Eaton’s body was located using a tracking device attached to his black Chevy truck.

Branch said Eaton’s family members were scheduled to meet with state police Friday evening and hoped to learn more about what happened.

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