On Sunday, Dec. 30, a 50-year-old male from Tucson, Ariz., began a hike on the Martinez Canyon Trail in Thermal to the Sugar Loaf Café in Pinyon. He had left alone at 10:30 a.m. on what he believed would be a six-hour day hike.
By the next day, Dec. 31, Riverside Mountain Rescue Unit was called out. “That’s a very difficult uphill hike,” RMRU veteran Lee Arnson said, “easily a two-day with an overnight. This man grossly miscalculated and got way in over his head.”
A CHP aviation unit spotted the hiker, but owing to his position when spotted, he was too far from the RMRU ground unit for them to be effective in the rescue. “The guy had to spend two nights on his own,” Arnson said. “He had no food and no tent.”
On Tuesday, Jan. 1, CHP flew in two RMRU volunteers to the subject who was then airlifted out. Arnson said, “He told our guys that he thought he was going to die on that third night.”
In a second rescue, Arnson, along with local RMRU volunteers Helene Lohr and Les Walker assisted CAL FIRE in a Wednesday, Jan. 2, rescue of a 62-year-old injured local hiker who had fallen 30 feet off a rock in the Pine Cove area. The press release described the location as the Shadow Oak Trail near View Rock in Pine Cove.
Arnson said the man, who lives in the area, had begun a hike from Appleton Drive and had climbed onto a large rock. He lost footing and fell off the backside of the rock according to Arnson and sustained a compound fracture of his leg. The RMRU team assisted by getting the subject packaged into a litter for an air hoist by CAL FIRE aviation unit 301.