The National Park Service exclusive-use contract helicopter was activated Monday from North Cascades National Park to help locate and rescue a missing hiker. Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and Olympic national parks share the dedicated short-haul rescue helicopter on contract for the summer season. A search began after she did not return from a day hike on the Rugged Ridge Trail on August 8. Stephanie Lincoln is a 40-year-old female, 5’4” tall, 130 pounds, with short brown hair and hazel eyes. She was carrying a red backpack.
At around 5:00 P.M. Monday evening Stephanie Lincoln was located by the helicopter about 2 kilometers northwest of her vehicle. Stephanie was airlifted to the Fairchild International Airport in Port Angeles where she was examined by medical personnel at 6:50 P.M. Her intended destination was Indian Pass. Her last known location was Rugged Ridge Trailhead located east of Forks off Sitkum-Solduc Road and NF-29 (also known as the A Road).
After being medically cleared, Stephanie was debriefed by members of Clallam County Search and Rescue. Stephanie reported that she missed the trailhead and inadvertently took another path. After about a mile into the woods she realized her error and tried to double back to her vehicle but could not locate it.
Stephanie attempted to put out an emergency alert on her cell phone but there was no service. Stephanie hiked to higher ground to attempt to find phone service but could not find any.
The next morning Stephanie headed to the sound of running water. This took her to a steep embankment. When Stephanie tried to negotiate the embankment she slid down it and lost her trekking poles. When Stephanie got to the source of the water, the Sitkum River, she found that she would not be able to cross it. She found a meadow and waited there in the hopes that a helicopter would be able to spot her. After spotting the helicopter, she signaled for help.
After the debrief, Stephanie was transported to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office in Port Angeles where she was reunited with her family at around 7:30 P.M.