Missing hiker found safe in Mount Hood National Forest

Missing hiker found safe in Mount Hood National Forest »Play Video
Ian Unger was spotted by two hikers who told him he was the subject of a search. (KATU photo)

A 19-year-old hiker who disappeared during a family hike in the Mount Hood National Forest is back with his family.

Ian Unger was found Saturday night after he became separated from his family on Friday. Unger hiked ahead of his family on the Pacific Crest Trail to Ramona Falls. His family could not find him when they reached the falls. His father called Clackamas County Search and Rescue.

“There was maybe a little bit of anxiety because I was separated from my group and I was separated from them for a while,” Unger said. “As I was getting further and further north and I wasn’t finding them I was starting to worry.”

Unger thought he was behind his group and continued on the trail. He was spotted by two hikers who had seen his photo and they told Unger he was the subject of a search.

The hikers helped Unger reach authorities.

“I hiked 20 miles trying to find my group, catch up with them and (it) ended up they were behind me,” said Unger.

Unger's family came from as far away as Washington because they feared the worst.

The organized search was suspended Saturday due to weather and family drove back to Portland to get some rest. The sheriff's office called them back when they learned Unger was found.

“We’re just thankful. A lot of people were praying. So we’re just like wow, this is great,” said John Unger, Ian’s father.

The family was on a four-day hike from Timberline Lodge to Cascade Locks. Unger had never hiked the route before. He did not have a map of the area or GPS with him, but he did have extra clothes, food and water.

Sheriff’s deputies estimated that Unger covered 40 miles in two days hiking rugged terrain.

“There were definitely times when I should have had a map with me and I should have had a compass with me and it was foolish with me not to,” said Unger.