On July 14, 2022, at about 6:44 p.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Big Trees Day-use Area of the Humboldt Redwoods State Park to conduct a search and rescue for two overdue hikers.
According to the reporting party, the hikers, an adult and juvenile, were part of a small group hiking in the area. The two hikers decided to stay behind for a while longer while the rest of the group returned to the trailhead. The hikers failed to return to the trailhead at the agreed upon time.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Special Services Division, the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Posse and officers with the California State Parks conducted a search of the area utilizing ground teams, a search and rescue K9, an unmanned aerial vehicle and an ATV team. At about 10:47 p.m., search crews located the hikers unharmed approximately 3.5 miles from their last known location.
The found hikers told deputies that they stayed on established trails and once they realized they were lost, decided to stay put until help arrived. These wise actions were instrumental in helping search teams locate the hikers quickly, resulting in a positive resolution to this operation.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office urges the community to take extra precautions when hiking or recreating outdoors. Follow these tips to stay safe:
- Always hike with a group, or at least one other person, and stay together.
- Check the weather forecast before heading out to hike or camp and plan your trip accordingly.
- Know your skill level and physical capabilities- choose trails within your or your group's ability.
- If doing a day hike, know what time the sun begins to set. Research the trail ahead of time and anticipate how long it will take to hike. Begin hiking early so that you will have plenty of daylight to get back.
- Inform someone of your travel plans- let them know where you are going, your planned route, when you plan to return and emergency numbers to call if you do not return at the scheduled time.
- Bring a charged cell phone with you in case of emergencies, but do not rely on cell service in all areas. For remote hikes where cell service is not available, consider bringing a Personal Locator Beacon or GPS phone.
- Bring a flashlight, warm clothes, high energy snacks and water in case your hike goes longer than expected.
- If you get lost, stop where you are and assess the situation. Try to determine your location. If you are sure you can get yourself out using a map and compass, do so- otherwise stay put.
- If you or a member of your hiking/recreating party becomes lost, call law enforcement for help right away (as service allows). There is no required wait time to report a missing person.
If you are interested in assisting with future search and rescue operations, consider joining the Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Volunteer Posse. Learn more and apply at: https://humboldtsar.org/
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