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Two Missing in Olympic NP Backcountry


    Back in May, in the wake of two deaths in national parks, I speculated that it was going to be a long, exhausting season for search-and-rescue teams in the parks. And the year has, unfortunately, lived up to that prediction.
    We've had falling deaths in Yosemite, Zion, Rocky Mountain, New River Gorge National River, and Yellowstone; drownings in Grand Teton, Great Smoky Mountains, Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and Grand Canyon; climbing deaths at Denali National Park, and; heat-related deaths in  Death Valley.
     Sadly, another search-and-rescue effort currently is under way in Olympic National Park, where two men have been missing since they failed to return from a weekend trek into the park's southeastern corner.
    Forty-one-year-old Neil Twilla and 38-year-old Jeff Mersmann started out last Saturday to spend a night at Upper Lena Lake, which is a little more than 7 miles in from the trailhead. When they failed to return home Sunday night and missed work on Monday, friends alerted park officials, who launched a search Tuesday morning.
    The men's car was found at the trailhead, and their tent was spotted at Upper Lena Lake by a helicopter crew. Today, ground crews and a bloodhound were air-lifted to the site. The search continues.

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