Someone calling for help

January 1, 2000
Elsinore Hills

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By Steve Bryant

At 12:07 PM on New Year's day, RMRU received a call from the Elsinore Station of the Riverside County Sheriff: since the previous evening, people in the hills west of Elsinore had been hearing calls for help.  A deputy had also heard the calls around 10 AM, so RMRU was summoned.  RMRU members started arriving around 1:30 PM, and Team 1, consisting of Jim Fairchild and Deano Esades, went into the field to check the nearby canyons, in one of which we had found a deceased person in our last search from this
particular roadhead.  Deano, who is not very sensitive to poison oak,  volunteered to go along the canyon bottom (which was full of poison oak) while Jim (who is very sensitive to poison oak) searched from and along the ridgeline.   After discussions with the sergeant and deputy, there was general agreement that there was probably no one in need of our help, especially since there were no reports of missing persons.  However, just to be sure, we continued the search.  Team 2, made up of Glenn Henderson, Travis Henderson, and Ray Hussey, searched up a canyon to the south, until they came to a clump of trees where there were signs of a recent large party.  Team 2 recommended that another team start from the ridge above, and come down the canyon to their clump of trees, so Joe Erickson, Ralph Hoetger, and Larry Ross, now making up Team 3, were flown up to the ridgeline, thanks to the availability of the Sheriff's helicopter. Previously, the weather had been cold and windy, and now it started to drizzle.  Team 3 came down the canyon, and arrived back in base shortly after dark, having covered the canyon thoroughly.  The combination of Teams 1, 2, and 3, plus searching from the helicopter, made complete coverage of the search area, so, especially since there was no report of a missing person, we concluded the mission.  The Sheriff's Department then kindly gassed up our vehicles, and fed us with huge meals at a hamburger restaurant near the freeway.   Finally, we were on our way home, thankful that at least we didn't have to spend the previous night on a mission.