Missing Experienced Female Hiker

May 21, 1999
Pacific Crest Trail, Garner Valley

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By Kirk Cloyd

It was a normal Thursday night with me trying to get my three year old to bed. It's not normal for us to get a Mountain Rescue page out this late in the week so when my pager went off at 9:30 PM I expected it to be a family member or friend. I was surprised to see the rescue number on the display. The message reported that there was an experienced female hiker missing on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Scarlet was a hiking instructor for the pathfinders. With family commitments, I was unable to respond immediately and noted on the answering machine that I would come out later that night.

At 10:30 PM the "74" (need additional help) went out. I calling in nothing that I was rolling and of course my three year old had still not fallen asleep! He asked "Daddy, are you going to mountain rescue?" When I responded yes he told me to be careful, find the missing lady, and that he loved me. With these thought playing over and over in my mind I headed up the mountain. When I got to Garner Valley fire station the decision to move Ops. up the toward the trailhead was made. The assignments were handed out shortly after arrival with Team 1 (Debbiy Riegle, Lee Arnson & Chris Babcock) hiking up the PCT from Morris Ranch Rd. Trailhead. Team 2 (Rick Floquet and myself) followed the Sheriff's Deputy and camp personnel that knew the fire roads to an area of the PCT that we were able to drive to. When we arrived at the intersection we looked both down the fire road heading to Oak Canyon and up the PCT for tracks. The Sheriff's Deputy and camp personnel returned to base while Team 2 proceeded down the PCT towards Oak Springs. We traveled approx. 1.5 miles when I turned to Rick and stated that we will probably turn one of the next three or four corners and she will probably be snug in her sleeping bag. I then told him that the hard part would be waking her.

We turned the next corner and there she was snug in her bag. After waking her & identifying ourselves, we asked her is she would like to accompany us back to base. We told her that we could walk approx. 4 miles down to the road or 1.5 miles up to a vehicle and then drive out. She opted to hike up to the truck and we drove back to base. Other than being tired and a little sore she was in fine health.