Mystery Surrounds Hiker Who Was Found Bloodied and Incoherent Near California Trail

Hiker Attacked
The Humboldt County coastline in California where hiker Sashank Upadhyayula was rescued.Sashank Upadhyayula/AllTrails

Northern California hiker Sashank Upadhyayula was found bloody and confused by teens from a nearby summer camp.

A 34-year-old hiker in California is recuperating after being found injured and incoherent near a remote trail, where it appeared he had been attacked and left unconscious, authorities said.

Teens from a nearby summer camp found the man bloodied and baffled, and they were able to use their new wilderness training to rescue Sashank Upadhyayula, sheriff's deputies said.

The hiker and his equipment were discovered near the Lost Coast Trail in northern Humboldt County.

Upadhyayula was hypothermic and covered in blood when six teens and two of their camp counselors stumbled upon him lying off the trail on June 25, the man recounted to Lost Coast Journal last week.

He can't remember a thing about what happened to him, he says.

He does recall a noise that frightened him late on the night of June 24, he said.

“I remember hearing something, being scared and removing my bear spray, my two knives, water reservoir and my electronics,” Upadhyayula said. His next memory is of waking up in the surf soaked, scared and utterly confused.

He made his way to the trail "and collapsed after getting my Mylar blanket. I covered my torso with the blanket and assumed (the) fetal position to retain heat.” 

The camp counselors dressed his wounds, and called for a helicopter rescue. The teens, who had just finished first aid training, built a fire and heated bottles of water to surround the shivering hiker.

He was airlifted to a hospital and released the next day, he said.

“The doctors believe that it was a knife [or] bladed weapon,” Upadhyayula told Lost Coast Journal. “With my lack of memory and because my knives are missing and how I was separated from my pack and found quite a distance away, it all points towards me being attacked," he said.

He is very grateful, he said, to those who helped save him.

“I just want to thank the people that helped rescue me and I want the other hikers in that area just to be aware of their surroundings and to make sure that nothing like this happens ever again,” Upadhyayula said. 

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office said it is currently investigating. "We encourage people to make sure they are adequately prepared for the rugged terrain of that area," including having a GPS device, warm clothes, and adequate supplies of food and water, the department said in a statement.

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