OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — A hiker who had been missing since Saturday has been located by Clallam County Search and Rescue teams.
One of the helicopter teams located Stephanie N. Lincoln, 40, waving to them from a ravine near the Rugged Ridge trailhead at about 5:30 p.m. Monday, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office reported.
A rescue operation immediately commenced.
A multi-agency search had been underway for Lincoln earlier in the day after the Florida woman failed to return from a day hike on the Rugged Ridge Trail on Saturday.
The trail is in an isolated area of the Olympic National Park east of Forks.
Lincoln’s intended destination was Indian Pass. She was set to return to the Rugged Ridge trailhead on U.S. National Forest Service land off the A Road, which is also known as Sitkum-Solduc Road and NF-29, according to an earlier news release from Olympic National Park.
The initial search teams Sunday comprised of park staff and Clallam County Search and Rescue.
On Monday, the search teams included Olympic National Park staff, Clallam County Search and Rescue, volunteers with Olympic Mountain Rescue, Kitsap County Search Dogs, and Washington Conservation Corps trail crew. The National Park Service exclusive-use contract helicopter also was activated from North Cascades National Park.
This trail is described by Washington All Trails as a “lightly trafficked out-and-back trail” between the Sitkum and Calawah river drainages.
Penny Wagner, a spokesperson for Olympic National Park, said the not-well-known area is a challenge for searchers. She said it was described to her as “steep and rugged, heavily treed with a thick understory.”
Lincoln is described as being 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 130 pounds with short brown hair and hazel eyes. She was last seen wearing green pants and a white shirt or dark blue rain gear. She was also carrying a red backpack, according to the news release.
She also was described as an experienced hiker and outdoorswoman.
Lincoln and her family have been traveling in the area in a camper. A friend of the family, Scott Museles, flew here from the Washington, D.C., area to be with Lincoln’s husband, Brad Rosenthal.
Museles said Lincoln hit the trail for a solo hike at 9:30 a.m. Saturday and was expected to return at 4 p.m.
Museles said Lincoln is a former captain in the Florida Army National Guard and described her as fit and a knowledgeable hiker.
“She’s an Army captain and well-trained and disciplined,” he said.
Museles doubts Lincoln would have tried to go off-trail. He also said that, as a disciplined military officer, she can take care of herself.
“She’s very diligent,” Museles said. “She doesn’t take chances. She comes prepared. Going off the path isn’t something she would do.”
Museles said he and Rosenthal dearly want to help searching for her, but they’ve been asked to hang tight.
“We want to go out and do something, but they’re telling us not to,” he said.
Sports Editor Pierre LaBossiere can be reached by email at [email protected].