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September 8, 2014 at 5:47 AM

Overdue Olympic park hiker walks to ranger station

 

Update at 4:01 p.m.:

Below is a description from Olympic National Park staff of what happened to hiker Kelly Hall, a 64-year-old from Bainbridge Island:

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“Kelly Hall, who had been missing for nearly four days in the northeast section of Olympic National Park, walked out to the Whiskey Bend Trailhead in the Elwha Valley.  He is tired and has minor scrapes and bruises but is safe and well.

Hall was last seen by two other hikers in the Grand Valley area, about four miles from his starting point at Obstruction Point.  Hall explained to searchers that he lost the trail in very foggy, rainy conditions in the area of Grand Pass and found himself heading west into the Lillian River drainage rather than into the Cameron Creek drainage as planned.

He explained that once he realized his mistake and was able to determine his location, he decided to continue hiking downstream along the Lillian River, knowing that he would eventually find the Lillian River Trail which would lead him to the Elwha River Trail and the Whiskey Bend Trailhead.

His ad hoc Lillian River route involved eight miles of extremely strenuous off-trail travel, which was much more rugged, difficult and time-consuming than Hall had anticipated, taking nearly four days longer than he had originally planned for his hike.  He reached the Whiskey Bend Trailhead this morning, where he encountered a group of hikers who gave him a ride to the Elwha Ranger Station.

Hall was well-equipped with food, a water filter, maps and compass, the “10 Essentials”  and appropriate gear.

“Wilderness users should always be ready to experience the wilderness on its own terms. Mr. Hall was ready, and was able to successfully reach safety and the road system on his own,” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sarah Creachbaum.

Hall began his hike on Saturday, August 30, setting out from the Obstruction Point Trailhead near Hurricane Ridge.  Family members expected to meet him at the USFS Slab Camp Trailhead on Thursday afternoon.

Searchers who contributed to the effort include National Park Service employees and volunteers, an aircraft and crew from Washington State Patrol, and volunteers from Olympic Mountain Rescue, Clallam County Search and Rescue, German Shepherd Search Dogs, Kitsap County Search and Rescue and numerous community members.”

Update at 10:18 a.m.: OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK  — A hiker who has been overdue since Thursday in Olympic National Park is safe.

The park says Kelly Hall walked to the Elwha Ranger Station about 10 a.m. Monday and contacted a park employee. The park says Hall is safe and well.

About 20 searchers on the ground plus a plane and helicopter had been looking for the 64-year-old Bainbridge Island man. He left Aug. 30 on a six-day, 39-mile loop hike in the northeast corner of the park, southeast of Port Angeles.

His family reported him missing Thursday night after he failed to show up as planned.

Maynes says it’s a long, tough hike but the trails are relatively well-used.

Original post: Olympic National Park searchers are hopeful they’ll be able to find a hiker who has been overdue since Thursday.

As the search resumed Monday for Kelly Hall, park spokeswoman Barb Maynes said he’s experience, well-equipped, and the weather has been favorable.

About 20 searchers on the ground plus a plane and helicopter are looking for the 64-year-old Bainbridge Island man who left Aug. 30 on a six-day, 39-mile loop hike in the northeast corner of the park, southeast of Port Angeles.

His family reported him missing Thursday night after he failed to show up as planned. Hall was last seen by another party on Aug. 30 about four miles from his starting point near Hurricane Ridge.

Maynes says it’s a long, tough hike but the trails are relatively well-used.

 

Comments | More in General news, The Blotter | Topics: missing hiker, no clues, Olympic National Park

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