Man walked from Sand Flat to Ski Park with no shoes

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

A man who left a campsite at Sand Flat off of Everitt Memorial Highway in the early hours of Saturday morning – without shoes – was located Monday about eight miles away at Mt. Shasta Ski Park.

The Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said Tayde Rafael Tovar-Mendoza, age 28 of Santa Nella, Calif., left his campsite around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday and walked to the Ski Park, where he gained access to a building before being rescued.

On Saturday, Sept. 29 just before 10:15 a.m., the SCSO received a report that Tovar-Mendoza had left Sand Flat after a disagreement and he was wearing no shoes.

Deputies responded and determined Tovar-Mendoza was still missing and a search of the area was initiated.

On Sunday, SCSO’s Search and Rescue team initiated a concentrated search in the area surrounding Sand Flat after it was again confirmed he did not return to the camp site. SCSO’s SAR team, United States Forest Service climbing rangers and members of the Jackson County (Ore.) Sheriff’s Office SAR participated in an expanded search. The California Highway Patrol’s H-16 helicopter crew also participate in the search.

On Monday morning at approximately 7 a.m., SCSO discovered the missing man at the Ski Park. He was transported to Mt. Shasta Police Department.

An investigation revealed that the group Tovar-Mendoza was camping with allegedly engaged in the use of a hallucinogen-type product, the SCSO reported. This prompted the Tovar-Mendoza to flee the area due to safety concerns.

“He ultimately traversed several miles of rugged terrain before he was located by Ski Park management personnel,” said Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey.

“We are pleased that this search and rescue effort ended with a favorable outcome. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the USFS climbing rangers, the participating members of the SCSO’s SAR team, including SAR Coordinator, Deputy Mike Burns, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office SAR team members, the CHP’s H-16 helicopter crew, and I would like to thank Mount Shasta Police Department and Ski Park’s general manager for their assistance in bringing this search operation to a successful conclusion.”

“This is a good opportunity to remind citizens climbing Mt. Shasta to be well-prepared and cautious when hiking or camping in the Mt. Shasta wilderness area,” said SCSO’s SAR Coordinator Deputy Burns. “While we are pleased this rescue had a happy ending, the wilderness area can be hazardous and legal or illegal substances that impair judgment, behavior, balance, and coordination should be avoided.”