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Lost hiker rescued at Mt. San Jacinto State Park

By KESQ & CBS Local 2 News Staff, newsline3@kesq.com
Published On: Dec 30 2013 10:59:49 AM CST
Updated On: Dec 30 2013 01:57:45 PM CST
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

A 60-year-old man had to be rescued from Mt. San Jacinto State Park when he strayed away from a trail after it became dark Sunday evening.

The man was reported missing by his family members around 7:30 p.m.

According to officials with California State Parks, the man's wife said he was going to hike to the top of Mt. San Jacinto Peak, which is approximately 12-miles round trip from the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway's mountain station.

The man, who's from Oceanside, was found just before midnight. He told authorities he made it to the peak but on his way back it started to get dark, and without an adequate light source he unknowingly went off trail.  Later, when he realized he was lost, he decided to stay where he was and started a fire to keep warm.

Rescuers found him about 1.5 miles into the wilderness and a few hundred feet off the Round Valley Trail, which is used to reach the peak of Mt. San Jacinto. The man was in good condition and rescuers brought him back to the Long Valley Ranger Station around 1:30 a.m. so he could eat and sleep while they waited for the Tramway to open.

Around 6:30 a.m. on Monday, rescuers and the hiker took the first tram car back to the Valley Station in Palm Springs where the man's car was parked.

Officials with California State Parks and the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Volunteer Mountain Rescue Unit (seven members) helped bring the missing hiker back home. They want to thank employees with the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for their help.