Search underway in Olympic National Park for missing Port Townsend man

Jacob Gray, 22, was reported missing in Olympic National Park on Thursday.

Jacob Gray, 22, was reported missing in Olympic National Park on Thursday.

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — Rangers were searching Tuesday for a 22-year-old Port Townsend man after his bike and camping gear were found on the side of Sol Duc Hot Springs Road last week.

Jacob Gray, described by his uncle as an avid outdoorsman, left Port Townsend alone on his bicycle Wednesday towing a trailer full of camping gear.

Olympic National Park visitors found the bike and camping gear Thursday about 6.5 miles up Sol Duc Hot Springs Road, said Lee Snook, chief of interpretation and education for the park.

“Rangers responded, did a hasty search of the river and found no evidence of Jacob,” she said.

A hasty search is a quick reconnaissance of the area.

Gray is white, 5-foot-11, weighs about 145 pounds and has brown hair and brown eyes.

Rangers searched again Friday and still found no trace of the man, Snook said. They walked along the side of the Sol Duc River and around the area where the bike was found but couldn’t do a thorough search because of the river’s conditions.

“The river is very high, fast and cold right now,” she said. “They did a search along the riverbank where they could and up and down the road.”

She said they are now using GPS data to plan the next search and “build the next steps.” 

The National Park Service was working with members of Olympic Mountain Rescue in a search Tuesday.

At this point, rangers have no idea what might have happened or where he might be, Snook said.

“His gear was found and he wasn’t,” she said. “There’s nothing else to go on. Anything else would be speculation.”

David Stokes, Gray’s uncle, said that family doesn’t typically worry about Gray when he’s in the outdoors because of his experience.

Gray is known to go camping alone in foul weather and in the mountains, Stokes said.

“We don’t worry about him because he’s done this so much,” Stokes said. “But we’re very concerned. We want to make sure we can do everything we can to help find him.”

He was unsure of Gray’s plans and when he planned to return.

“If he got himself into trouble, we need to try to find him,” Stokes said.

Snook said anyone with information about Gray’s whereabouts should call the park at 360-565-3115.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

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