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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
A search began this morning for two men who are overdue from a planned one-night backpacking trip to Upper Lena Lake in the southeast section of Olympic National Park. Missing are Neil B. Twilla, 41 years old, of Silverdale, Washington and Jeff Mersmann, aged 38, of Bremerton, Washington.
Both men were scheduled to be at work on Monday morning, November 6; they were reported overdue on Tuesday afternoon. The two are believed to have begun their hike on Saturday morning, with plans to return home on Sunday. Their vehicle remains parked at the Lena Lake trailhead.
A helicopter flew over Upper Lena Lake this morning and spotted a tent matching descriptions of Twilla and Mersmann’s tent, but no sign was seen of the two men.
Two ground searchers are attempting to hike to Upper Lena Lake today; trail and stream crossing conditions are unknown, however and the normal route may not be passable.
Both Twilla and Mersmann are known to be experienced hikers and very physically fit. Both have hiked in the Upper Lena Lake area in the past.
Twilla is described as being 5’11” and 190 pounds with short dark hair and blue eyes; he wears glasses. Mersmann is 6’5” and very lean with short salt-and-pepper hair.
Rangers ask anyone who may have seen Twilla or Mersmann in the Upper Lena Lake area to contact Olympic National Park at 360-565-3120.
Upper Lena Lake is located in the southeast section of Olympic National Park, just northwest of the town of Eldon. Upper Lena Lake is a 7.3 mile hike from the trailhead.