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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
The search for James C. Strong that began yesterday in Olympic National Park ended happily around 12:30 this afternoon when he was spotted by searchers in a helicopter.
Strong, 60 years old from Oakland, California had planned a seven-day solo trip through the Bailey Range, a well-known off-trail route through rugged and remote terrain.
Strong was spotted near Bear Pass in the southern Bailey Range, about five miles north of Low Divide. The helicopter was able to land nearby; when searchers contacted Strong, he was found to be safe and alive, although sore and slightly injured from a minor fall. He was flown out of the park and was evaluated by park ranger-EMTs. He declined further medical treatment and is on his way home this afternoon.
Strong began his hike on Monday, September 10 when he left the Sol Duc trailhead. He planned to traverse the Bailey Range and end his hike on Sunday, September 16 at the North Fork Quinault trailhead.
Strong was reported overdue on Sunday, September 16. Interviews with other hikers who had been in the Bailey Range last week revealed that rain and low clouds had hampered their progress, leading searchers to allow Strong another day to complete his hike before beginning a search. When he did not appear by Tuesday morning, searchers began a “hasty” search of the North Fork Quinault trail area. An expanded search effort began this morning at first light.