Port Angeles man, lost while harvesting mushrooms, spends night in woods amid search

Rickey Lee Smith, 50, was “wet, tired and hungry” when he walked into the Lake Pleasant Grocery at about 2 p.m., Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said.

Rickey Lee Smith

Rickey Lee Smith

BEAVER — A man who went missing Tuesday while picking mushrooms walked out of a West End forest Wednesday afternoon, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said.

Rickey Lee Smith, 50, of Port Angeles was “wet, tired and hungry” when he walked into the Lake Pleasant Grocery at about 2 p.m., Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said.

“He ended up sleeping under a tree last night,” King said. “But he was uninjured.”

Smith’s girlfriend reported that she and Smith had been picking chanterelle mushrooms on U.S. Forest Service Road 2902 when they were separated just before dark, King said.

The woman returned to her vehicle on Mary Clark Road and reported Smith as missing at about 7:53 p.m., according to a news release.

A Clallam County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team began looking for Smith with help from Jefferson and Mason County authorities, King said.

Smith could hear the sirens but could not tell from where the sound was originating, King said.

A Coast Guard helicopter crew joined the search just as Smith was walking out of the forest.

Smith covered a distance of about 4 miles as the eagle flies through steep and rugged terrain, King said.

Smith was the third mushroom picker to go missing in the Cooper Ranch Road area of the Sol Duc Valley in the past month, King said. The others were carrying cellphones.

“If you’re lost and you dial 9-1-1, we have mapping technology to work our way to you,” King said.

“As long as you have good service, we can come find you. In this case, [Smith] did not have a phone.”

Meanwhile, the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s Office called off a multi-agency search for Quinault tribal elder Jerry Hyasman on Oct. 7. The 56-year-old had gone mushroom picking near Copalis Crossing on Oct. 4.

Tribal members and other volunteers continued to look for Hyasman last week.

Hyasman is 5-foot-7, 180 pounds with short gray hair, a synthetic left eye and a tribal tattoo on his left arm, tribal officials said.

Clallam County authorities were among those who looked for Hyasman, King said.


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.

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