SISTERS, Ore. (KTVZ) – A Bend man and woman who went hiking and camped in the Camp Lake area near Sisters used a GPS emergency alert system to call for help Saturday after a storm moved in, bringing near-freezing temperatures and a mix of rain and snow, Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies said.
The sheriff’s office was advised around 10:30 a.m. of the two hikers, ages 32 and 30, needing assistance at Camp Lake, near the Pole Creek Trailhead, said Deputy Kyle Joye, assistant coordinator for Sheriff’s Search and Rescue.
Deschutes County 911 received a report from Garmin GPS emergency response that they had received an emergency alert at the location from a GPS receiver, Joye said. They had contacted the user, who reported a weather system moved in overnight and the user and a hiking partner were wet, cold and needed help getting back to the trailhead.
At that time, a U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement officer also was notified and responded to the area, Joye said. A sheriff’s deputy, the assistant sAR coordinator, made contact by text message with the pair and learned they were uninjured but needed help to safely return to the trailhead.
A total of 14 DCSO SAR volunteers responded to the scene, including ground, medical and horse teams. They headed up the trail from the Pole Creek Trailhead, reaching the pair at 3:40 p.m. and confirming they were not in need of medical care, though they were in need of some food, water and dry clothes before hiking down the trail.
About an hour later, SAR teams began escorting the pair down the trail to the trailhead, where they arrived around 7:30 p.m., met up with friends and headed home by personal vehicle, Joye said.
"The Sheriff's Office would like to remind anybody hiking during this season that conditions can change rapidly and to be prepared for various temperatures and rain/snowfall," Joye said in a news release. "Additionally, keep a close eye on weather forecasts for areas in and around your recreation area."
The deputy also said the sheriff’s office wanted to thank the Forest Service Law Enforcement Division for its help.