On Wednesday January 4, 2023 at approximately 4:45 pm, Josephine County 911 received a call from two stranded motorists who were stuck in the snow on Happy Camp Rd, south of the Oregon/California border. The subjects were believed to be located in Siskiyou County and the call was transferred to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office.
At approximately 02:58 am on January 5, 2023, Josephine County Search & Rescue was advised the subjects were actually located in Del Norte County. Due to Del Norte County having limited access resulting in a prolonged response, it was determined Josephine County Search & Rescue would handle the call.
During daylight hours, Josephine County Search & Rescue deployed a team with a SnoCat and tracked UTV as back-up. The team located the subjects who were in good health and good spirits albeit a little cold. They were transported down the mountain road without incident. The pair stated they were traveling through this area on Hwy 101 south to see the Redwoods. They stated Google Maps advised them of a Hwy 101 road closure ahead due to down trees. Google Maps redirected them to the Happy Camp Rd route.
Authorities would like to remind everyone to use caution when using road mapping apps for traveling. While these apps can be very useful and convenient, they may lead you into dangerous situations if followed blindly. Often the alternate routes provided do not account for hazards and seasonal road closures. It is recommended to stay on the major roads/highways especially when unfamiliar with the area and/or traveling in winter.
Source: JoCo SAR