71-Year-Old Hiker Found Alive After Getting Lost and Spending 2 Nights in Oregon Wilderness
Jospeh Dean told officials he planned to hike the 12-mile loop from Horsetail Falls, along the Rock of Ages Ridge, and return by way of the Oneonta Creek Trail. Halfway into the hike he lost his way.
A 71-year-old hiker was found alive and safe after getting lost in the wilderness and spending two nights alone in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge.
Joseph Dean had texted his wife on Saturday afternoon and told her that he was lost somewhere on the Rock of Ages Trail in Multnomah County. He was reported missing around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, ABC News reported.
By 11 p.m. that evening, 16 searchers from the Multnomah County Search and Rescue (MSCO) headed out on the trail to search for Dean. On Sunday, the sheriff increased the manpower to 65 to help find Dean. A drone and airplane performed multiple aerial searches, and search crews also reviewed cellphone data and gathered information from family and friends to try and pinpoint where Dean may be.
On Monday at 8:54 a.m., Dean was found near the Horsetail Falls Trail. Rescuers said he was “conscious and breathing” and was given first aid. He was then placed into a basket and guided down the trail before being reunited with family members. He was transported to a local hospital for further medical evaluation. According to the MSCO office, Dean was talking and was able to walk with assistance.
Dean had told officials that he planned to hike the 12-mile loop from Horsetail Falls, along the Rock of Ages Ridge, and return by way of the Oneonta Creek Trail. However, halfway into the hike he lost his way.
Officials said Dean, who was not prepared to stay overnight, was carrying thermal leggings, a jacket, and a balaclava. They said he was able to ration his snacks, but did run out of drinking water.
Sheriff Mike Reese of MCSO Search-and-Rescue Team said that Oneonta and Horsetail Creek drainages suffered major fire damage during the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017. The trails in these areas that Dean hiked on are not maintained, indistinguishable and overgrown. This area has been closed since the fire, the release said
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