By Nick Veronin
An injured dog's paw and overgrown trails kept two Mountain View residents from returning home on time from a hiking and camping trip in the Los Padres National Forrest over the weekend, a Monterey County sheriff's official said.
Brandon Boers, 29, and his wife Amanda, 26, were reported missing after Brandon failed to return to work on Monday, June 21, Cmdr. Mike Richards of the Monterey County Sheriff's office said. Boers, a Marine, had told fellow officers at the recruitment center where he works that he planned a two-night hike from China Camp in Carmel to Big Sur.
Shortly after embarking on the trip, however, as the couple hiked into Pine Valley, their Australian shepherd injured its paw. The couple decided to double back, using a different route, which a sheriff's press release described as "barely identifiable as a trail."
The return trip was slow going, Richards said, as Brandon was carrying the 50-pound dog.
The hikers and their dog were spotted at about 12:30 p.m., Richards said, after rescue workers in a helicopter spotted the orange top of their tent.
"They were happy to be found," Richards said. "In all honesty, they might have made it out on their own in the last day or so."
Richards said that Monterey County Sheriff's office probably engages in about 30 to 40 rescue operations each year, the majority of which end in the recovery of missing hikers.
"I had no doubt that our teams would be successful in their search," Richards said. He estimated that about 12 "highly-trained" volunteers and other personnel were involved in the operation.
Richards said the two hikers made a lot of good decisions prior to and during their hike, including telling others where they planned to go, and rationing their food and water once they realized they were off the beaten path.
"Anybody that goes hiking in the wilderness should always file their plan with somebody," Richards said.
He added that hikers should also carry some method of contacting rescue crews, whether it is a GPS device, a satellite phone or even a mirror for reflecting the sun. He discouraged the use of flare guns, because of the fire risk they pose.
Bay City News Service contributed to this report