On Sept. 5, 2021, at about 6:45 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Black Sands Beach in Shelter Cove for the report of an overdue hiker.
The hiker, a 37-year-old male, was hiking the Lost Coast Trail with a group of friends when his dog reportedly suffered an injury. The hiker and his dog separated from the group on September 4 to return to the Mattole Trailhead. The hiker had made plans to meet the group at Black Sands Beach on September 5, but he never arrived.
Sheriff’s deputies and Bureau of Land Management rangers hiked the trail on foot from the Mattole Trailhead that evening in an attempt to locate the hiker. However, due to darkness and terrain, the officers had to suspend the ground search until the following morning. Meanwhile, a United States Coast Guard helicopter was deployed to search for the hiker via air but was also unable to locate the hiker that evening.
On the morning of September 6, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Special Services deputies, volunteers with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Posse, and Bureau of Land Management Rangers resumed their search of the Lost Coast Trail utilizing an All-Terrain Vehicle. At approximately 10 a.m., the hiker was located on the trail approximately two miles south of the Mattole Trailhead. The hiker was in good health but without drinking water. He told deputies that he had been slowed in his return to the trailhead due to carrying his injured dog. The hiker was provided transportation back to his vehicle and water.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Posse, the Bureau of Land Management and the United States Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay for their cooperation and assistance in the search and successful resolution of this incident.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind the public to take caution and be prepared when hiking or accessing the beach.
Even if you are just planning a short day-hike, be sure to:
- If unfamiliar with the area, bring a map. If on the coast, consider bringing a tide chart.
- Consider bringing a whistle to help emergency responders find your location in a search and rescue situation. Ensure that your cell phone is charged and consider bringing a small power bank should you need to charge your cell phone.
- If hiking with a partner or a group, never leave someone behind.
- Carry a flashlight
- Bring extra water and high-energy foods
- Pack a small first aid kit
- Dress properly for a hike and prepare for changes in the weather by bringing rain gear or a jacket.
- Tell somewhere where you are going and when you plan to return.
- Stay on an established trail and if in an unfamiliar area, bring a map.
- Be sure to charge your cell phone prior to leaving home.
If you do become lost while hiking and are unable to find your way out, the best thing to do is to stay where you are and call 9-1-1.
To learn how you can become a member of the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Posse, visit humboldtsar.org.