Members of the Riverside County Mountain Rescue Unit helped an exhausted and stranded Pacific Crest Trail hiker to safety.
Robert Davis, a 70-year old hiker, from Winchester, Tennessee, was on his first Pacific Crest Trail trek and after a month on the trail, he began to experience fatigue, dehydration and weariness.
By Thursday, May 1, 8 miles north of Idyllwild on the Black Mountain Truck Trail, Davis’s water supply was dwindling and he was unfamiliar with natural water sources in this area. So he activated his Global Positioning System Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), which sent a “Help” signal, explained Les Walker, a RMRU volunteer from Idyllwild.
The signal was picked up after 10:30 a.m. at the Air Force Coordination Center, which notified local Cal Fire and the Sheriff’s Department of the hiker’s situation and general location. By 3:45 p.m., the Sheriff’s Aviation Unit, Helicopter Star 93, located Davis from the air and Walker spotted him on the ground in a clearing about 100 to 150 feet off the trail.
“He laid out an orange tarp and stayed in one place,” Walker said. Davis’ location was at about the 6,400 feet in elevation.
The helicopter landed nearby and airlifted Davis and Walker off the mountain. American Medical Response transported Davis to a local hospital for a medical evaluation. Davis was found to be in good health and later released from the hospital.
Other units participating in the rescue included State Park Rangers and members from Desert Search and Rescue.
Davis began his PCT hike April 1 from the border with Mexico. The fatigue began Tuesday, April 29.