As search and rescue volunteers began searching for a missing hiker in the Teanaway area at first light Thursday morning, the lost 25-year-old woman arrived at a home after walking about 16 miles overnight, the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office said.
Sarah Brandabur of Mercer Island had been trying to hike to Ingalls Lake with a friend Wednesday, but continued on alone after the friend got tired, according to a news release issued Friday by the sheriff’s office.
The friend reported her lost about 8 p.m.
Other hikers reported seeing Brandabur in the area just south of Ingalls Lake known as Headlight Basin, which is near Mount Stuart and about 15 miles north of Cle Elum. The search and rescue team found prints matching the description of her shoes on a “user-made” trail in that area.
But plans to follow the tracks were quickly called off when a resident of Ingalls Creek Road called the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office to say Brandabur had walked to their home overnight. Their home is north of Blewett Pass off U.S. Highway 97, about 16 miles from where the searchers were looking.
The temperatures had dropped to the mid-20s overnight and Brandabur had no overnight gear. She was cold and tired, but not injured, the sheriff’s office reported. She was taken to Cle Elum to meet waiting friends and family, according to the news release.