Lone PCT Hiker Lucky to Be Rescued After Getting Lost in Huge Snowstorm in Cascades

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Robert Campbell sits in a police vehicle after being rescued from the PCT by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Credit: AP

Robert Campbell was lucky to be saved on Friday after getting lost during a snowstorm in Oregon during his attempt to hike the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). Campbell was soaked through and shivering, with only his wet sleeping bag to insulate him in the only shelter he could find, a toilet in a closed campground.

A search team from the local sheriff’s department found his footprints in the heavy snow that dumped on the Cascades last week.

“I really think I owe them my life because … I couldn’t have made it another night. My sleeping bag and tent are just completely soaked and probably ruined and I have no dry clothes,” Campbell said.

Campbell, from Philadelphia, began his trek at the U.S.-Mexican border on May 4, planning to make it all the way to the other end, on the Canadian border, 2,650 miles away. Last year, he hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, he said.

The Pacific Crest Trail

Heavy snow began Wednesday and as he hiked on Thursday, the snow buried the trail. A smartphone app that was supposed to show the way didn’t help and he soon ended up lost, miles off-trail. When he injured his foot in a boulder field, he realized he needed help and called 911.

While waiting for rescuers to arrive, stumbled across the campground, settling down in the toilet, the only shelter available, until searchers drove by and saw his footprints. He intends to finish the hike.

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