Skamania County Undersheriff Dave Cox said a friend reported 19-year-old Maureen Kelly missing in the early morning hours of Monday.
Kelly, who is from Vancouver, Wash., was last seen walking away from a campsite at Canyon Creek Campground to go on a “spiritual quest,” Cox said. That was around 5 p.m. Sunday.
Kelly was wearing only a fanny pack, which had a small knife and a compass inside, and perhaps some other items. She was otherwise naked and, though it was a mild night, not prepared for the elements.
“We had a fairly mild evening last night (Sunday night) with temperatures in the lower 50s,” Cox said. “We have set up a command post in the area and currently are utilizing ground search teams in the immediate area in an attempt to locate her this morning.”
After searching for Kelly all day Monday without success, teams suspended their search at 8 p.m. Monday and planned to resume again at 8 a.m. Tuesday, Cox said.
The campground from which she disappeared is located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest — about 60 miles northeast of Portland.
The Canyon Creek area is steep and mountainous with heavy timber and brush.
Search crews said Kelly crossed a creek and climbed up to Forest Road 54, on the other side of the canyon from the campground.
“Where she entered the creek is amazingly steep. It’s called Canyon Creek Campground for a reason,” said Sharon Ward, with Pacific Crest Search Dogs. “It’s very, very steep. So how she got down there barefoot is a wonder. And how she came up out of the bottom is a wonder.”
Ward said Kelly’s tracks stopped on the paved road, so search crews spent much of the day trying to find where she may have left the pavement and entered the woods.
It is unknown whether she may be on a road or trail in the area or if she is moving cross country.
“We are asking anyone from the public that may have been in the area of Canyon Creek and the FS 54 road system within the last 24 hours to contact our office if they may have seen Ms. Kelly on her quest,” Cox said.
The number for the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office is 509-427-9490.