Search and rescue volunteers located a 38-year-old Brooklyn, New York man Monday morning after he separated from his friends while hiking in Desolation Wilderness.
El Dorado County Sheriff's Office received a call from about 6 p.m. Sunday reporting that Chris Major did not return to Echo Lakes Lodge as planned after hiking with three friends, said Lt. Tim Becker in a Monday statement.
After hiking to Lake Aloha and then to Lake of the Woods, the group of hikers voluntarily separated Sunday afternoon and planned to meet up at the lodge. The other three members of the group became worried when Major did not arrive as planned, Becker said. Sheriff's deputies responded, continually checked surrounding roadways in case Major walked out during the night, and search and rescue volunteers prepared to search the area, Becker said.
Foot teams and a California Highway Patrol helicopter were used to search the Desolation area. About 9:20 a.m. Monday the Sheriff's Office received information that a text message was sent to Major's friend saying he was with other hikers in the wilderness area.
About 30 minutes later the Sheriff's Office received information that Major had made a cell phone call to his friend, Becker said. Search and rescue personnel were able to speak directly with Major and determine his location, meeting up with him in the backcountry about 10:35 a.m. Search and rescue volunteers assisted Major in walking out to Echo Lakes Lodge about 11:30 a.m. Monday.
He had several minor cuts and abrasions from climbing through brush and over rocks, but declined medical treatment.
Major told SAR personnel that he had started a small fire to keep himself warm through the night and then came across the other hikers in the morning, Becker said.