Boy did not return from short walk

August 12, 1978
San Jacinto Mtns

ForwardReturn to IndexBack

By John Dew

This August Saturday had been a hot, long, happy one. The RMRU team had been on training, and it had been a time of fun.

This training had been to carry fifty pounds from Humber Park to Tahquitz Peak and back to set a time on about how long it should take. Much good natured horsing around had taken place and we had had fun, BUT still we were glad it was over. We were looking forward to getting some rest before the next morning when we would be involved in helping with the pancake breakfast the Isaac Walton League of Idyllwild puts on to benefit RMRU.

With this special day coming we wanted to be at out best, BUT that wasn't to be.

On Saturday evening some of the team had gone on home to be with their families. Some of them had stayed to camp in one of the local parks, and some of them had taken advantage of Norm and Maggie Mellor's hospitality at the Sky Yacht. No matter where the team members were our trusty pagers were alert and about eight o'clock that night they started screaming at us that there was a mission that must be handled immediately.

A 15 year old boy was camping near Willow Creek Crossing with some others in a group when he decided to take a short walk. When he decided to return a short time later he was so disoriented he could not find his way back to the group. He had wandered off mid-afternoon and the group had searched for him until dusk before calling for help, thus the late call to RMRU.

Several team members were dispatched to the area where he was last seen. They started searching from there while two other members were placed at Saddle Junction to serve as relay back to Base, while a couple of members were left at Base Camp to do the work which needed to be done there.

As was suspected by the searchers, and as had happened so often before, the lost boy had gotten into the Willow Creek drainage and started toward the infamous hazard to inexperienced hikers, Tahquitz Canyon, which catches so many lost persons. Fortunately for him, at Laws Camp, some other people were camped. As they were talking to him they discovered he was lost. They did about the best thing they could do. They knew someone would be looking for him and they persuaded him to stay there with them until morning.

About 2:00 a.m. our team members searching the area and calling, calling, into the night, had waked the people in the tent. After information was exchanged it was learned the young man RMRU was looking for was in the tent.

After camping there until morning RMRU thanked the folks who had been so much help and took the lost boy back to his group.

They arrived back in Idyllwild in time for part of the Pancake Breakfast, and members of the Isaac Walton League of Idyllwild had opportunity to see first hand what a tremendous part they play in assisting those in need in the wilderness.