An overdue hiker from Salem was found near East Lake early Friday, the third mission in 24 hours for Deschutes County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue.
Deschutes County 911 dispatchers received a call around 9 p.m. Thursday from a man reporting that Michelle Gerdes, 30, was overdue returning from a hike, said sheriff’s Deputy Mike Biondi, assistant SAR coordinator.
The caller said Gerdes had left Paulina Lake Resort around 3:15 p.m., intending to hike around the lake, along the Paulina Lakeshore Loop Trail, Biondi said.
Gerdes was expected back at the resort around 5:30 p.m., he said. After she failed to show up, the caller contacted dispatchers.
Authorities also learned that Gerdes had no cell phone, food or light source with her, little water, and was not dressed to spend a night outside in temperatures expected to drop to the low 40s, Biondi said.
A sheriff’s deputy and four SAR volunteers responded to the call, he said. They began searching roads in the area, and the Crater Rim Trail north from Forest Service Road 21.
Shortly before 5 a.m. Friday, Gerdes was found at the intersection of the Crater Rim and Parallel trails, in good condition, Biondi said. She was given warm clothes and escorted about 1 ½ miles to the Cinder Hill Campground, where she was reunited with her party.
Biondi said rescuers learned Gerdes had hiked the Crater Rim Trail from Paulina Lake Lodge to within 1 ½ miles of Forest Road 21 and decided to turn back. It started to get dark, so Gerdes decided to stay at the trail intersection until daylight and she could walk out.