updated: Jul 03, 2012, 7:14 PM
Source: Santa Barbara Sheriff's Department
A missing backpacker is safe after being located on the Santa Cruz Trail north of Upper Oso in the San
Rafael Wilderness area of the Los Padres National Forest Monday evening, July 2, 2012.
Two males in their 60's from the Santa Barbara area were completing a five day backpacking trip in the
forest when they became separated on the Santa Cruz trail. When one of the backpackers failed to meet
at a pre-determined location Monday morning, the other backpacker continued down to their vehicle
parked at Upper Oso where he waited for the missing man.
After waiting a couple of hours without the missing backpacker showing up, the man went to the
Paradise U.S. Forest Service station to report his backpacking partner missing. The U.S. Forest Service
Personnel contacted the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office which initiated a Search and Rescue call
Members of the Santa Barbara County Search and Rescue (SBCSAR) team along with the Santa Barbara
County Air Support Unit initiated a ground and air search around 5:30 pm Monday night. At
approximately 6:30pm a helicopter from the Aviation Unit spotted the missing hiker just south of Little
Pine Mountain making his way down the trail toward the Upper Oso Campground.
Ground units from SBCSAR then hiked up to the missing backpacker and, after giving him some water,
escorted him back out to Upper Oso where he was reunited and released to his awaiting fellow
The missing backpacker told the SAR teams he had taken a wrong turn near the end of a section of the
Santa Cruz Trail typically referred to as the "40-mile stretch" and became entangled in heavy brush that
took him several hours to crawl through back to the main trail. By that time, his backpacking partner
had hiked past him causing him to miss their rendezvous point.
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