LA CRESCENTA (CBSLA) – A 64-year-old hiker who went missing Sunday night in the San Gabriel Mountains above La Crescenta after getting separated from his son has been found safe.
The man, identified as Angus Paulson, hiked out on his own at around 9 a.m. Monday and flagged down a passing car on Angeles Crest Drive, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Paulson told KCAL9 he was unhurt and thankful to be alive after finding a sleeping bag in the middle of the woods.
“I was worried,” Paulson said. “That’s why it was a great relief to find that sleeping bag. It changed my outcome, in a certain way – it gave me options. If I hadn’t found that sleeping bag, I was going to have to keep walking all night long.”
Paulson was reported missing at around 5:30 p.m. Sunday after he became separated from his son, who told deputies he took a separate trail from his father in order to hike up to a higher altitude. The two had agreed to meet back near the car, but his father never arrived.
“The son decided to continue on the trail to go up to the top of Strawberry Peak,” Sheriff’s Sgt. John Gibson told KCAL9. “Once the son had gotten to the top of the mountain, when he came back down to meet with his father where he was resting, he saw his father wasn’t there.”
A six-hour search around Strawberry Peak Sunday night conducted by LASD Montrose Search and Rescue and an L.A. County Fire Department helicopter turned up nothing and was called off at around 2 a.m. Monday in order to regroup and get more resources. A new search resumed at around 7 a.m. Monday and a bloodhound was brought in to try and track down his scent.
There was concern for his safety due to the near-freezing temperatures. Paulson had a cell phone but did not have reception, Gibson said.
While he only suffered minor scrapes, the scars remind him of a night that could’ve been deadly.
“The regret is that I caused so much stress to other people,” Paulson said. “If I could have had this adventure without screwing everybody else’s lives up, that would make it a much more valid adventure.”