Horseback riders lost

June 09, 1981
San Jacinto Mtns

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At a little before 4:00 pm RMRU member Walt Walker received a call from Capt. Ray Canova of the Sheriff's Department. Capt. Canova informed Walt that a group of horseback riders was overdue in completing the Mt. San Jacinto segment of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). After discussing the situation it was decided to make an initial search of the mountain by air using the Sheriff's Cessna Birddog. Since Walt was the closest member to the Banning airport, he would fly as an observer.

Walt met the plane at the Banning airport. From there the craft flew up and around the mountain to the Anza area where the PCT heads up into the San Jacinto high country. They searched from the Desert divide up and through the Tahquitz Valley area. From there they worked their way around the Western slope and out the Fuller Ridge with no results. Searching from a fixed wing aircraft is quite difficult in a mountainous terrain. It was decided that they would search back over their route once more before stopping the air search. If this did not turn up anything the rest of the team would be called out to start a ground search from various locations on the mountain.

Just as they started to work back, Walt spotted the group on horseback trying to make their way down to the Twin Pines Boys Ranch. After giving the group a few directions from the loud speaker, the group got themselves onto the correct trail to get down to a road head. With that, the pilot flew Walt back to Banning.