Stranded Hiker Rescued

October 17, 2007
Cahuilla Mountain, Near Anza

By: Martin Syrett

Late Wednesday evening the second message came. Help still needed for missing women at Cahuilla Mountain. I met Gwenda at the sheriff’s station at approximately 21:30 hours and we headed up to the last known location of the missing woman. Within minutes, Lee arrived at the scene to join us. While Lee and I headed towards the deputy, Gwenda set up the base camp. The deputy up the trail informed us that he had voice contact with the subject. Lee set up a beacon light to mark our current location and we headed out in the direction of Rebecca’s faint voice. The terrain was rough and steep. Manzanita made the trek almost impassable at times forcing us to our hands and knees to proceed towards Rebecca. As we traveled toward her, Rebecca’s voice would vary as if she too was on the move in the opposite direction.

At approximately 00:30 hours, Lee and I spotted the subject. Rebecca was located on the face of a rock about 75 feet above our location. In order to bring her down safely, Lee and I hiked up and around the rock to drop into her location. When we found her, she was huddled on the ground with her bare feet buried in a shallow hole and her spaghetti strapped tank top pulled over her daisy duke shorts for warmth. To say the least, she was quite unprepared for this adventure. Between Lee and I, we clothed her with two pairs of socks, a long sleeve shirt converted to pants, rain pants, a beanie, gloves and Lee’s RMRU rescue jacket. We stayed in that location and provided her with food, water and hot chocolate before heading back down the mountain. Steve had arrived and was waiting to assist us at our starting location. Through radio contact, he warned us of increasing fog conditions.

Lee and I packed up and Lee scouted out a possible route down the hill. Using several drainage crevices, we were able to lead her towards the beacon light. During this time, Rebecca explained that she had recently moved from Washington where several of her friends had died in a plane accident. This may help explain how she ended up in this precarious situation. About an hour and a half later, we arrived at Steve’s location where the subject seemed even more relieved to have another search and rescue individual present. We soon met up with the deputy who had made original voice contact with Rebecca. He commented on our efforts and was pleased that we were able to bring her out safely. Another successful mission completed by RMRU.

Members Present: Gwenda, Lee, Steve, Marty. A special thanks to the Deputies who arrived on scene first.