▶️ Hiker found safe after going missing in Badlands

A Wyoming man who went missing Wednesday night in the Badlands east of Bend was found safe Thursday morning.

Joseph Hawkins, a 20-year-old former Bend resident visiting his parents here, was last heard from around 6 p.m. Wednesday when he called his mother to say he was lost and his phone was going dead, according to Sgt. Nathan Garibay, Assistant Search and Rescue Coordinator.

A SAR deputy responded to the area and found Hawkins’ vehicle parked at the Badlands Rock Trailhead north of Highway 20 East near Horse Ridge. More than 20 SAR volunteers, dogs and drones responded and conducted searches in the area throughout the night. An AirLink helicopter was also called in, with a SAR navigator on board, Garibay said.

The initial search ended about 3 a.m. but crews started back up around 7 a.m. with an additional 15 volunteers.

A SAR team deploying from the Badlands Rock Trailhead encountered Hawkins around 9:40 a.m. after he was able to make his way back to the trailhead.

Hawkins told SAR he got turned around after walking a significant distance.  After his phone battery died he found a place to fall asleep.  He awoke Thursday morning and started walking around sunrise eventually making his way back to the trailhead, Garibay said.

Hawkins was cold, but appeared otherwise unharmed.  He was evaluated at the scene by a SAR medic and declined further medical assistance.


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