Lost Hikers Tanaja

April 30, 2019
Tanaja Trail, Cleveland National Forest

Written by Vinay Rao

On Tuesday morning RMRU received a call about two lost hikers in the Tenaja Falls/Fishermen’s Creek area. The previous day, Monday afternoon, two brothers (16 and 21) had parked their car at the trailhead and were planning on doing a short scouting hike. When they did not return by late Monday evening, and were out of communication with the family, the parents became worried. The father along with a friend decided to look for the two brothers and hiked from the trailhead to Fishermen’s Camp where they found what they thought were the boot prints of one of the brothers. Unable to go further the family decided to call for help. The team was activated around 4:45am on Tuesday and we responded and met up at the trailhead at approximately 6:30am.

Eric ran base and Glenn hiked a few miles in with James and Vinay to assist with comms relay. James and Vinay continued down to Fishermen’s Camp to look for footprints; several were located. In the meantime, a K-9 (Windy) along with the handler and a deputy were heading down the trail to Fishermen’s Camp so we waited for them to arrive.

Foot Print

Checking Foot Print
Photo by Vinay Rao.

Upon arrival the K-9 appeared to have picked up a good scent on one of the ridge trails. We went with the K-9 team and the deputy for approximately a mile when we heard voices calling out for help from the creek bed. Unable to establish whether the voices were our subjects, and after looking at the topo map, we determined that the best option was for the K-9 team and the deputy to continue along the ridge trail and the RMRU team to try and bushwhack down the ridge to the creek bed. We made it through very heavy brush and shrubs to within 20-30 feet of the subjects but were unable to continue further due a cliff. Fortunately, we were able to confirm that the individuals were our subjects and that they were unhurt.

We decided to retrace our way up the hill and return to Fishermen’s Camp to follow the creek to the subjects. After about a ½ hour in the creek bed we located the subjects. We assessed them for injury (they were uninjured) and gave them some warm clothing and food and fluids to drink. While were with the subjects, the K-9 team and the deputy had returned to Fishermen’s Creek. The two subjects and RMRU were then all able to then return via the creek to Fishermen’s Camp where we met up with the deputies and hiked back to trailhead.

Rescuers and Subjects

Sheriff’s, Windy(K9), RMRU members, Subjects, and Family
Photo by Sheriff.

The family was very happy to see that their sons were safe and sound!

RMRU Members Involved: James Echhardt, Glenn Henderson, Eric Holden, and Vinay Rao.