A hiker was flown out of Six Rivers National Forest on Monday after he failed to meet his sister, who had been waiting to pick him up the day before.
Erik Tedsen, 26, of Crescent City, was dropped off Friday on a road near the South Kelsey Trailhead with the expectation he would arrive around noon Sunday for pickup on a Forest Service road past Big Flat near the gate before the Ship Mountain fire look-out.
“I didn’t make the meeting point because the snow was a lot heavier then I thought,” said Tedsen. “That was something I really didn’t anticipate. Everything I read and looked at didn’t say there was going to be that much snow.”
Tedsen said he trekked through snow about 1½ feet deep for about 13 miles Sunday, but still missed his mark.
On Monday, he said he got to within about four miles of his destination when he heard a helicopter overhead.
“I saw the tops of the trees moving and realized this chopper is moving pretty low,” said Tedsen.
The helicopter landed nearby and took him and his sister’s dog, Max, to the airport, where his family was waiting.
On Sunday evening, authorities had been alerted about Tedsen not arriving at the pickup location and Del Norte Search and Rescue tried to respond that night, but the roads were too icy, said SAR Assistant Coordinator Peggy Thomas.
“They went in with chains today,” said Thomas on Monday.
But before the team was able to get past Big Flat, the CHP helicopter spotted Tedsen around 8:30 a.m., Thomas said.
Tedsen said he would have hiked down to U.S. Highway 199 or a point he could get cell service had a search team not been deployed.
“I wasn’t cold or dehydrated or anything like that,” said Tedsen. “I was fully prepared for the situation I was in. I didn’t think the snow was going to be as deep as it was and therefore underestimated how long it would take me to get out.”
Tedsen said is an avid hiker with a background in recreation administration.
“Because I didn’t have a GPS locator on me they had no way of knowing whether I was OK or not,” said Tedsen.
He plans on purchasing a locator to ensure he will be able to communicate with his family when he goes on future outings.
Tedsen ended up hiking 34 miles over the weekend in freezing temperatures and snow.
The U.S. Forest Service also assisted in the search.