Firefighters find missing hiker

Volunteer firefighters from several departments spent much of the afternoon Tuesday combing through the Otter Creek Wilderness area in search of a 60-year-old man who became lost while hiking.

Elkins Fire Department Chief Tom Meader said searchers reached Daniel Garrison, of Harrisburg, Va., early Tuesday evening after the man managed to make a 911 call from his cell phone asking for help. Meader said the call originally went to the Tucker County Communications Center and they notified Randolph County 911 about the situation.

Meader said the man parked at the Otter Creek Wilderness area and began hiking along the trail, then became lost.

“He followed the trails, but there are a lot of them,” he said. “He left the trail to follow the stream and the vegetation got too thick. He also ran out of water.”

The fire chief said firefighters from the Elkins, Leading Creek and Beverly volunteer fire departments originally responded to the parking area near the trail’s head and began the trek in search of Garrison. He said the firefighters were extremely fortunate to have spotted a “No Trespassing” sign after they walked about five miles into the wilderness area, the same location where Garrison became lost.

Meader said one of the firefighters on the scene was related to Ted Ogden, who owns the private property. Ogden was contacted and told the firefighters that he knew where they were located and gave them permission to use his property to bring Garrison out of the woods.

“We were very fortunate to use Mr. Ogden’s property. He had cut a road into the woods that we were able to use,” Meader said. “He (Garrison) was able to walk out with some assistance.”

By using the private property, firefighters only had to escort Garrision a mile and a half as opposed to the five miles along the trail.

Meader said that, once located, Garrision was given water and Gatorade and was able to walk, with assistance, from the wooded area. Meader said Garrison refused medical transport.

Contact Anthony Gaynor by email at Follow him on Twitter @IMT_Gaynor.