Cold and Wet Backpacker
April 22, 2022
Saddle Junction and Chinquapin Flats
Written by: Caleb Milner
The call came out around 10:30 at night for a lost and distressed backpacker who was very cold and wet. That night they were out in a minor storm came through Idyllwild, bringing some precipitation but mostly just bringing temperatures down below freezing. They were reported to be about halfway in between Saddle Junction and Chinquapin Flat on the PCT and in a campsite. I was the first to the Command Post (CP), being that I was working in Idyllwild when the call came. Even the temperatures in town were around freezing and cloudy, so the high country would be very cold.
Vinay, Glenn, and Kase showed up shortly after I did, so we made plans to drop Kase, Vinay and I off at Humber Park to hike up Devil’s Slide to meet up with the subject. Glenn would run base down in Idyllwild. Tobias and Ray would be the second team to go out once they showed up to the CP. Once at Humber we planned to hike up to the point where we had heard the subject was. And then attempt to contact the subject by calling out. There was an inch or two of snow on the ground at 6,500’ and dense fog. Shortly after starting up Devil’s Slide Trail, we talked to a hiker who reported smelling smoke around where the subject was supposed to be, which was a good sign because we’d heard our subject had made a campfire to make it through the night.
Our hike ended quite abruptly when we passed a group of hikers coming down Devil’s Slide, one who fit the description of the subject, so we stopped and asked, and it turned out to be our subject. We found out the subject had called their friend early in the morning, asking him for assistance, and he had taken the friend to the specific campsite before, so the friend knew where he would be. We began hiking down, not even half a mile up the trail, we talked with the subject and found out more about the situation. It was a windy night, and every time they tried to exit their tent they would get blown over, and the minor precipitation caused everything to get wet. Other than a very cold and windy night, our subject was in good condition, and so we hiked them down and turned them over to the Sheriff Deputy and AMR who was on scene.
RMRU Members Involved: (Kase Chong, Glenn Henderson, Caleb Milner, Tobias Moyneur, Vinay Rao, and Ray Weden)