The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department reported the rescue of two hikers, lost in the area of Marion Mountain Trail near Idyllwild. The hikers, Marines who had become separated from two friends after a hike to the summit of Mt. San Jacinto, used a cell phone to call for help around 7:20 p.m. Sunday, June 10.

RCSD dispatched Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit, including three Idyllwild team members, Lee Arnson, Chad Marler and Les Walker. According to Walker, the Marines had gotten off-trail and down into a drainage off Marion Mountain Trail. They reportedly started two signal fires to help rescuers locate them. Separate two-man RMRU teams converged on the location around midnight with Arnson and Marler reaching them first. “They had gotten quite a bit off the trail,” said Walker.

Arnson said that it still took an hour to hike down to the Marines after voice contact had been established. “They were quite a ways down,” he said. “Luckily we were able to just hike them down to Dark Canyon Road, taking a lot less time than if we had had to hike them back uphill.”

The teams hiked the two to safety, completing the rescue around 2 a.m. Monday, June 11. Although one Marine said he had slightly injured an ankle, both refused medical treatment.

“Stay together and stay on the trail,” was Arnson’s advice to hiking groups. Arnson also advised having proper hiking shoes and clothes.