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Cause of death revealed for Colorado hiker whose dog was found wandering near highway

The Boulder County coroner's office says a hiker whose body was found in the mountains of northern Colorado likely died of hypothermia or being exposed to the elements.

CBS Denver reported 27-year-old Joshua Hall, of Arvada, went missing in February and was found dead in July near the Diamond Lake Trail west of Boulder. Hall's autopsy says the area where he was hiking had "extremely cold and snowy weather conditions" at the time.

Josh Hall and Happy Boulder County

Hall started his hike with his dog named Happy at a trailhead near Nederland, and his cellphone pinged near the Continental Divide Trail a short time later. He was reported overdue from his hike Feb. 3.

One week later, his dog was found wandering near the Peak to Peak Highway, roughly 13 miles from the Hessie Trailhead, CBS Denver reported. "The pup has been reunited with family and is getting some much needed food and love," the Boulder County Sheriff's Office tweeted at the time.

The Boulder County Sheriff's Office said volunteers and numerous organizations spent more than 700 hours searching for Hall before his body was found July 1 by a volunteer with the Front Range Rescue Dogs organization, which had been preparing an organized search. Hall's remains were found near a small stream off the Diamond Lake Trail, CBS Denver rerported. That's approximately 4.3 miles west of the Hessie Trailhead, where Hall's vehicle was found. 

The death has been ruled an accident.

In a statement released July 3, Hall's family described him as a person who lived life to the fullest, made others laugh and who appreciated the beauty of his surroundings, while always striving to learn.

"While we grieve the loss of our son, we will strive to find comfort in the fact Josh died doing what he loved, and that he is and will always be part of Indian Peaks Wilderness," the family said.

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