SONORA (CBS SF) — Three Bay Area hikers, missing after setting off on a three-day weekend backpacking trip in the Tuolumne County wilderness, have been found safe at a remote campsite, authorities said Monday.
Steven Morales, from San Jose; Christine Ricks, from Menlo Park and Venu Aruva, from Sunnyvale, had not been heard from since they left Morales’ CRV parked at the Kennedy Meadows resort located near the Emigrant Wilderness last Thursday.
Searchers located the trio Tuesday morning at near Sheep Camp — about 8 miles from where they began their hike on Thursday. The campsite has an elevation of 8790 feet. No other details were immediately available
The U.S. Forest Service said the trio — who frequently hike together — had filed plans to begin their trip on Thursday and returned Sunday. However, a fierce storm front rolled into the area late Friday and throughout the weekend. Heavy rains, snow, lightning storms and wind battered the region.
The caretaker of the Kennedy Resort advised authorities that over the weekend the nearby Stanislaus River rose approximately 3 feet and the local trails became muddy and treacherous.
Concerned friends and family contacted authorities when the trio did not return on time.
Late Monday night, a Tuolumne County sheriff deputy located Morales’ Honda CRV parked at the resort. The deputy left a note on the vehicle advising the group they had been reported as overdue and to contact the Sheriff’s Office once they return.
On Tuesday morning, the Tuolumne County Search and Rescue Team launched a massive massive search for the trio.