By Pat Jenkins The Dispatch A Missouri woman's experience at Mount Rainier National Park last week is being cited by park officlals an example of why they preach precautions to hikers. The woman was missing for approximately 24 hours while hiking alone at the park in the Mowich Lake area. A search ended successfully when she was found Aug. 8 unharmed after she'd spent the previous night in a hollow log for shelter. Lacy Murphy, 24, who began her hike Aug. 7, told park officials that she stepped off the trail to take a photograph, lost her footing and slid down a steep slope. She tried to find her way back to the trail, but the terrain was so steep that she kept sliding further down instead. The National Park Service recommends that hikers leave a detailed itinerary with a friend or family member and carry the "10 essentials,GÇ¥ including emergency food, water and clothing, a spokeswoman said. In the afternoon of Aug. 7, Murphy left Puyallup, where she was visiting relatives, for a short hike by herself at Mount Rainier. She was reported missing when she didn't return. A search for her began on the morning of Aug. 8. Her vehicle was found parked at the Mowich Lake trailhead in the park's northwest corner. A 26-person search team of park rangers and members of search and rescue teams from Pierce County, Seattle and Everett and German Shepherd Search Dogs of Washington assembled at the trailhead. At about 5 p.m., two members of the team made verbal contact with Murphy as they hiked the trails south of Mowich Lake and called her name. Several hours later, Murphy was located at the bottom of the slope below the Spray Park Trail in heavily wooded terrain, officials reported. Ropes and a litter were used to lift her up the slope and back to the trail. After warming up and eating some food, she was able to walk out under her own power and was reunited with her mother at the Mowich Lake trailhead about 12 hours after she was found, officials said.
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