Box Springs Lost Hiker

January 11, 2021
Box Springs Mountains, Riverside

Written by Blake Douglas.

RMRU was activated at 6:59pm on a Monday January 11th, for a hiker lost on the Two Trees Trail in the Box Springs Mountains of Riverside. Since I live directly below the “C” landmark on these hills, and James Eckhardt lives two blocks from me, we were anticipating a record response time.

The Two Trees Trail is rated as a moderate route by trail websites, gaining 1000 feet in 1.5 miles, roughly following a shallow, shade less ridge through scrub brush to a parking area and overlook on a plateau; the overlook and trail are popular among locals. Our subject’s coordinates placed her halfway up the trail, but a quarter mile off, in one of the numerous drainages that break up the hillsides.

James and I reported to the lower trailhead, only to find that the RSO deputies had responded to the upper trailhead. Team president Glenn Henderson made contact between the RSO deputies and us. It was reported that the deputies had attempted to hike down to the subject, but the terrain became too steep, so we were advised to prepare for a technical rescue.

James helps Subject back to Trail.
Image by Blake.

We located the subject at 7:48, with less than 30 minutes of hiking, fortunately in non-technical terrain with only minor navigational considerations. Our subject had set out to hike a loop route, completing the Two Trees Trail and then taking an alternate route down. This alternate route did not work out, and lacking a light source, she was unable to proceed once night fell. With no medical or technical considerations, we completed the mission as a simple hike out back to the trailhead for a happy reunion with her family.

James hikes Subject back down on Trail.
Image by Blake.

Lessons from this rescue are oft-repeated ones. Always bring a dedicated light source (not your phone). If you doubt your navigation or ability to complete an unfamiliar route, consider turning back to a familiar one. Do not rely on only one source of information when planning a hike; online guides are, in our experience, frequently inaccurate, sometimes showing trails where none exist.

Cameron, Blake, James, Subject, Cody, and Vinay at Base.

RMRU Members Involved: Coby Brown, Cameron Dickinson, Blake Douglas, James Eckhardt, and Vinay Rao.