Search continues for hiker in Olympic National Park

AP News
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Posted: Dec 27, 2014 7:06 PM

PORT ANGELES, Wash. (AP) — Teams searched Saturday for a 60-year-old man missing in Washington's Olympic National Park, focusing on an area off trail where his pack was found.

Jim Griffin hasn't been seen since he went for a hike Monday on the Olympic Hot Springs Trail. His friends reported him missing Wednesday night after he failed to show up at a Christmas Eve dinner.

Nearly two dozen people conducted an intensive grid search in the area where they found his day pack about 50 feet off trail, but they failed to turn up anything, acting park spokeswoman Jacilee Wray said Saturday afternoon.

Two others were searching nearby creeks and drainages until dusk Saturday, Wray said.

Officials said they believe Griffin set off around 11 a.m. Monday for the hot springs, which is about 2 ½ miles from the trailhead.

People reported seeing him at the hot springs that afternoon, so officials believe Griffin may have hiked back to his car in the dark, she said.

His pack was found off the trail about one-half mile from the trailhead, where he had parked his car. It appears he had taken things out of the pack, including a towel, Wray said.

Nearby searchers found a pouch of freeze-dried food that had been rehydrated, Wray said. There were no signs of a struggle in the area, she said.

"He's a slow and steady hiker," Wray said, adding that he would have been moving slower because of a previous leg injury.

The trail to the hot springs rises about 1,800 feet in elevation.