Search under way for 64-year-old day hiker from Tacoma

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Mount Rainier. (File photo)

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK — Rescuer workers are searching for missing day-hiker Edwin Birch, 64, of Tacoma, who was last seen Saturday in the Panhandle Gap area of the Wonderland Trail.

Birch set out from Box Canyon early Saturday morning after he dropped his son off at White River to hike the same trail in the opposite direction, the park said in a news release. Both father and son had set a goal to hike the Wonderland Trail in sections, and Saturday’s mission was to hike the section between Box Canyon and White River, about 19 miles in length.

At about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, father and son met midway on the trail near Indian Bar at around 6,600 feet. The son reported his father seemed well, although he was a bit tired. After arriving at the Box Canyon trailhead around midnight, the son picked up the car and drove to pick up his father at White River. When his father did not appear he notified park rangers at White River at 1:30 a.m.

Search efforts began Sunday morning for Edwin Birch. Monday’s search, the park said, included 53 personnel including members from Everett, Tacoma, and Olympia Mountain Rescues, along with an Everett Mountain Rescue dog team, and air support from Northwest Helicopters.


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