KUSA - When you spend as much time inspecting historic mining sites in the backcountry of Colorado as Bruce Stover has, you find a lot of things.
**UPDATE: After 9NEWS aired this story on Tuesday, the owner of the camera was found. Aaron Johnson had dropped the camera down a steep slope years ago and was overjoyed to get it back.**
Stover is the director of the Office of Active and Inactive Mines for the State of Colorado. Many of the mines Stover inspects are in remote areas above timberline throughout the state.
"You find ski poles and snow shoes, and sometimes you'll find a pack," Stover said.
While he frequently finds items left behind or lost by visitors to the backcountry, in August 2012, he found something that became a mystery to him: A camera.
"I saw the camera underneath some rocks," Stover said.
The silver Nikon camera was barely visible beneath rocks at an elevation of 12,800 feet.
"The camera is all banged up. It has been moving down the hill in the rocks for quite a while," Stover said.
While the camera was destroyed by the rocks and exposure to the elements, the memory card inside was undamaged. Stover decided to bring the camera down off the mountain to see if he could solve the mystery of who took the photos.
"When I looked at the card inside, it was obvious that these people had spent about a week in the San Juans," Stover said.
The memory card contains about 80 photos. Many of the photos were scenic images of the mountains near Silverton. The date stamp on the photos covers a three-day period from Sept. 16 to 19, 2006. Several of the photos are of a man and a woman.
One clue is that the man is wearing a shirt with a UConn Huskies logo.
"It would be really cool to figure out who these people were and get them their camera back," Stover said.