A missing Portland hiker who became separated from her boyfriend while camping in the Mount Hood National Forest has been found alive.
A helicopter crew spotted 28-year-old Pamela Salant sitting on a rock in Lindsey Creek, about a mile-and-a-half north of Bear Lake on Tuesday afternoon. She began waving when the helicopter crew spotted her.
Salant had been missing since Saturday, and search teams from multiple agencies scoured the forested area over the course of three days.
"All I can hope is that she's safe and she's okay," said Aric Essig, Salant's boyfriend, on Monday.
Essig said he and his girlfriend planned to camp overnight at Bear Lake but separated after dropping their gear at the campsite around 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
"I went around one way; she went around the other. I thought she did, but she actually didn't, and that was the last I saw of her," he said.
Essig said it was supposed to be only a brief separation and he expected to meet Salant back at camp, but she never returned.
"After six hours, I was concerned, and I heard some voices up in the woods of what I thought was another group," said Essig. "I thought maybe she was hanging out with them."
Essig said he started looking all over for his girlfriend, then called the Hood River County Sheriff's Office on Sunday morning.
More than 25 people from the Hood River County Sheriff's Office, plus multiple other agencies like the National Guard and U.S. Forest Service police, searched the area until midnight. A helicopter, airplane and three K-9 teams were also used, but authorities didn't find any sign of Salant.
That search continued Monday morning with teams from the Hood River Sheriff's Office, Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Pacific Northwest Search and Rescue and U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement.
The terrain is described as steep and rugged with dense foliage.
"You have to know the trail systems," said Chief Deputy Jerry Brown. "If you get off the trail, sometimes it's difficult to find the trail again."
The Sheriff's Office said the biggest concern is that Salant does not have supplies, food, water, or a cell phone with her. She was last seen wearing dark-colored shorts and a dark red or blue tank top.
"She wasn't prepared to be out there," said Brown.
"She doesn't have a lot of wilderness survival experience, but she is capable and competent, and we've hiked extensively together," said Essig. "At this point, it's like a worst case scenario because she should have been able to hike out from this."
Essig said he plans on staying near Bear Lake and working with search and rescue crews day and night to try and re-trace her possible footsteps.
"I'm going to be going all day, every day, scouring the woods until she's found, no question," said Essig.
Salant is described as 5'3" tall and 125 pounds with blonde hair.
Anyone who may have seen her in the area of Bear Lake is asked to call the sheriff's office at 541-386-2711.
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