San Juan Loop-F

July 27, 2019
Cleveland National Forest

Written by Corey Ellison

RMRU received a call out at approximately 11pm for a lost female hiker off the San Juan Loop trail in the Santiago Mountains. Michael, Josh, and I arrived on scene around midnight and met up with the deputy in charge. The lost subject had gone hiking with her friend and become separated around six in the evening. Her friend walked the trail twice trying to find her but was unsuccessful.

It was around 10 PM and he notified 911 that his hiking partner was missing. After obtaining information from the deputy and the reporting party, our team headed out. Michael had hiked this trail multiple times and thought he knew a couple places where a person could easily get off trail. At one of the switchbacks, we found evidence that the subject proceeded to go off trail and down towards the river.

On this designated path we found a water cup that was stated to be the subjects along with too many liquor bottles that the subject was also stated to have. Further down we found tracks that matched the size and build of our subject. After combing the riverbed for about two hours we reported back to the deputies that we have been unable to locate the missing subject. The area our team searched was close to both the trail and Ortega Highway (cars both visible and audible).

Due to her history as a transient, the deputies felt she may have Hitchhiked back down Ortega highway to where she was staying in orange county. Our team also believed this to be plausible due to the small size of the area the subject was expected to be in. The sheriff’s deputies decided to call the search to a halt and reevaluate the situation. RMRU was pulled out and returned home around 6 AM.

RMRU Members Involved: Michael Cara, Cory Ellison, and Josh Gould.