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W. Va. man found safe on Mt. Washington
A West Virginia man who lost a trail in the wilderness on Mt. Washington was located by a search party late Thursday morning in an area where he had set up camp to wait it out until morning.
According to a Fish and Game press release, Eric Rankin, 58, of Morgantown was reported missing about 6:30 p.m. Thursday by his son, Mike Rankin. Both were hiking from the Osgood tent site in the Great Gulf wilderness area with plans to hike the Madison Gulf trail, ending at the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) visitors' center at Pinkham.
Eric Rankin left 15 minutes before his son, anticipating he would catch up to him. Mike Rankin set out on his hike shortly after his father but was slowed at Parapet Brook, which was high and difficult to cross.
Once across the brook, he continued on their planned route to Madison Gulf Trail but did not meet up with his father. He asked other hikers if they had seen him and, when no one had, Mike Rankin reported his father overdue. He was concerned because of the high water crossing.
Fish and Game were contacted about 7 p.m. Teams from both AMC and Fish and Game, along with Mike Rankin, started searching for the elder Rankin, heading to his last known location.
They found him near the Great Gulf trail about 11 p.m. He had lost the trail due to limited trail markings in the wilderness area, according to Fish and Game. He made it back close to a trail junction but, due to darkness, decided to set up camp and wait until morning to try and meet up with his son.
The search party, along with Eric Rankin, walked back to the Great Gulf trail head arriving at 1:30 a.m. Friday.
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