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Overdue Hiker Found In Good Condition in Olympic National Park

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Date: August 29, 2012

The search for Tim Bailey, 32 years old, of Mountlake Terrace, Washington concluded successfully at about 6:30 p.m. today when he was hoisted from a drainage of the North Fork of the Sol Duc River in Olympic National Park by a U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Helicopter. Bailey sustained an injury to his left ankle, but otherwise appeared in good condition. He was transported to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles for further examination.

Bailey was reported overdue on Sunday evening when he failed to return from a planned three-day backpack in the Sol Duc area of the park.Bailey left from the Aurora Ridge Trailhead on Friday morning.He had planned to hike Aurora Ridge and Happy Lake Ridge and return by way of the North Fork of the Sol Duc River by Sunday afternoon. On Saturday, he fell approximately 150 feet down the side of a drainage, sustaining the injury to his left ankle.

"He did all the right things," said Olympic National Park Incident Commander, Kristin Kirschner. "Once he realized he would not be able to get out of the canyon under his own power, he stayed where he was, made himself as visible as possible, built a large signal fire, and waited for help."

Search efforts by Olympic National Park search and rescue teams began on Tuesday morning.Wednesday afternoon, search teams on the ground reported hearing a sound similar to gunshots.The searchers were able to direct a helicopter to the location of the sound and at approximately 3:35 p.m. visual contact was made with Bailey.A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter, that was hoist capable, was brought in at approximately 6:00 p.m.to hoist Bailey from the drainage.

"We are very pleased with the successful outcome of this search," said Olympic National Park Chief Ranger Colin Smith. "We were fortunate to have good weather, a very well prepared hiker, and an excellent search and rescue team out in the field."

Approximately twenty personnel from Olympic National Park were involved in the search, aided by a helicopter from HiLine Helicopters Inc.

Did You Know?

star-shaped purple flowers growing in a crack of a rock

That the Piper's bellflower is unique to the Olympic Mountains? Named after an early Olympic peninsula botanist, the Piper's bellflower grows in cracks and crevices of high elevation rock outcrops.