Missing Hiker

March 17, 2019
Skunk Cabbage Meadow, San Jacinto Mountains

Written by Josh Gould

On the morning of Sunday March 17, 2019, we got a call for a lost hiker in between the Caramba trail and Willow Creek trail. Five of the RMRU members responded. The plan was to meet up at the ranger station in Idyllwild. I was the first to the station. Kevin, Mike George, Dana, and Blake drove up together in a caravan from the Sheriff station. While waiting the sheriffs on site were discussing possible rescues situations. We decided that we would fly in on a helicopter. We relocated the meet up point to the Keenwild Helipad off hwy-243. Upon arriving, we went over the situation and Kevin gave the instructions. Mike George and I were to fly in on the helicopter, land in the Skunk Cabbage Landing Zone and hike about a mile to the subject. Kevin and Blake would be on standby if we need help. We packed up our gear and headed out.

Exiting Star-9

Mike G and Josh after Exiting Star-9
Photo by Riverside Sheriff’s Aviation.

After landing in Skunk Cabbage, we planned the fastest route to the subject and headed out. After hiking about a mile, we located the subject. He was in high spirits for staying out all night and not having quite the gear to do this. We gave him some food, water, and a change of socks. Once he was ready to head back, we were off. On the way back, he told us his story. He found himself on the same paths of a set of bear prints and mountain lion prints. Later in the day he came across a bear cub and decided to split. He got off course and ended up a few miles off trail. As the day turned to night he hunkered down for the night. The next morning, he started to head back.

Star-9 Shut Down

Star-9 Shut Down in Skunk Cabbage Meadow
Photo by Riverside Sheriff’s Aviation.

After about forty-five minutes of hiking, the three of us got back to the helicopter. We sent the subject back with STAR-9 to the helipad first. Then Mike George and I went back on the next trip. Upon landing at the helipad, medics from the fire department and paramedics were already there to evaluate the subject’s condition. He was still in high spirits but a little cold.

Overall, this mission was a success and had great team work from the parties involved. This includes the STAR-9 pilots, RSO of the Hemet station and RMRU volunteers. Thank you everyone for a great rescue.

RMRU Members Involved: Blake Douglas, Mike George, Josh Gould, Kevin Kearn, and Dana Potts.