Portland hikers lost in Gorge overnight rescued – kgw.com

Rescued hikers reunited with families

Nate Hanson, KGW.com Staff
8:28 a.m. PDT June 29, 2015

CASCADE LOCKs, Ore. — Two overdue Portland hikers were rescued Sunday after being found in the Columbia River Gorge near Bonneville Dam.

Lonny Calkins, 50, and Karl Hurst, 47, set out at 7 a.m. Saturday for a day hike, but were reported overdue at 2:30 a.m. Sunday by a friend, according to the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office.

Calkins says a few hours into the hike the trail became overgrown, and they lost their way.

“I literally thought there was a good chance we weren’t going to make it out of there,” said Calkins.

By dark, they had little water and no cell phone signal. They found a creek and set up camp.

“We did a lot of praying in the process because we were just totally dry, saying ‘Lord I have to find some water soon,’ and when we did we were so happy,” Calkins said.

The Multnomah County Search and Rescue Team, along with Trail Hornets, searched for the hikers Sunday morning based on a picture one of the hikers had texted to a friend Saturday night, according to the sheriff’s office.

The hikers then sent a text at 9:30 a.m. Sunday to a relative saying that they were OK. Rescuers told that relative to send a text back to the hikers to call to call 911 so that their location could be determined with a cell signal, deputies said.

Hood River 911 said their signal was pinpointed an hour later. Hood River Search and Rescue flew over the area and spotted Calkins and Hurst off trail in a steep, heavily wooded area, deputies said.

Rescuers reached the hikers at around 3:20 p.m., 800 feet down Tanner Creek and about 2,000 feet above Wachlella Falls, the sheriff’s office said. They were given water and food. They were back at the trailhead about 6:30 p.m.

“They were both very fatigued and scratched up,” said Mark Morford of Portland Mountain Rescue. “They’d gotten into some hornets yesterday. Just about everything that was miserable in the back country, they had seen. But they were fine.”

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