3 Lost Hikers Saw the Way Out but Couldn't Get to It

Times Staff Writer

Three hikers from North Hollywood were rescued from an Angeles National Forest canyon after spending a chilly night lost in the woods.

The three, who strayed off a trail during a Sunday outing, passed the night clothed only in T-shirts and jeans, huddled next to a campfire as temperatures in the canyon dipped into the upper 30s.

The hikers said after their rescue Monday morning that they knew where civilization was but could not figure out how to get to it.

"We were down in this canyon and we could see the road off in the distance, but it was getting dark and too dangerous to climb out," said Pat Megowan, 26, who led a friend, Susan Seling, 26, and his roommate's son, 12-year-old Cris Rhodes, off established trails to explore the Tujunga Canyon area off Angeles Forest Highway above La Canada Flintridge.

"When it really began to get dark, we figured it would be better just to find a flat area, make a campfire and wait until morning," he said.

Although Rhodes was so shaken by the experience that he vomited several times during the night, he and his companions said they felt fine when rescuers finally reached them at 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Twelve members of the Montrose Search and Rescue Team began looking for the hikers shortly after midnight Monday when Rhodes' father, James, reported the three missing.

"The only area I could define for the sheriff's deputies to search was from Mojave to Antelope Valley to the Angeles Crest Highway," James Rhodes said. "Somehow they found the car within an hour. I really got worried when I found out their down jackets were in the car and a trail map had been left on the dash."

"This was only my second hiking trip ever," Seling said. "The first time my mother and I went down into the Grand Canyon when I was 9." All three hikers said they intend to hit the trail again in the future.

"The ropes the rescue guys put down for us to get out were kind of fun, crawling up the side of that cliff," Seling said. "But it's not something I'd want to do all the time."

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