Rosemary Kunst - Strange disappearances from US National Parks

Rosemary Teresa Kunst, disappeared August 18, 2000, Marble Mountains Wilderness,  California. 

Rosemary Teresa Kunst, Marble Mountains Wilderness,  California

Rosemary Kunst, aged 70, went missing on August 18th 2000, from Spirit Lake in California, part of the Marble Mountains wilderness. At the time of her disappearance she was wearing a blue fleece shirt, hiking boots, and a blue baseball cap.

Rosemary was married to Charles "Bud" Kunst and eighteen months before her disappearance they were involved in a serious car accident in which Bud was killed and Rosemary was seriously injured. As part of her recuperation from the tragic incident, as a keen outdoors woman she decided to go on a backpacking trip with the Earth Circle group based in Yreka, California, an organisation run by native American Karuk Chief and Elder, Charlie "Red Hawk" Thom. Annually the group visited the remote Spirit Lake area of the Marble Mountains Wilderness, part of the Klamath national forest and west of Mt. Shasta. The lake is only accessible from one direction with steep banks around it and tree cover, making access difficult apart from the trail at the northern end of the lake.

Spirit lake map Marble mountains

Each year, Red Hawk carried out spiritual ceremonies at the lake which included spirit dances to help bring the Native American ancestors down to earth and on August 17th 2000 this event was repeated with Rosemary Kunst. His group which included a cook used horses to bring in tents,food and other equipment. The whole group participated in the attempt to contact the ancient spirits. 

Marble Mountains Wilderness,  California

On August 18th Red Hawk told the group of his plan to go for a day hike and they would be all back in camp later that evening. Rosemary declined this invitation for reasons unknown and decided to stay behind and subsequently she asked his 12 year old son, Chalet, whether he would accompany her on a small hike to other side of the lake. Chalet declined and stayed behind with the cook. Rosemary had a small lunch prepared for her to take and she headed off towards Wooley Creek, the southern part of the lake, which had no obvious exit apart from climbing the steep hillsides (up to 70 degree angle). 

At 5pm that day, the rest of the group came back from their hike and Red Hawk enquired where Rosemary was, but she was not in the camp. Some of the group was dispatched to the Wooley Creek outlet and told to locate her but 1 hour later they came back and said they had no success in finding her. The Siskiyou Sheriff's department and county rescue team was notified that Rosemary had vanished and over 50 searchers began a search and rescue operation. In addition a FLIR equipped helicopter, sniffer dogs, horseback searchers and California highway patrol helped. 

Spirit Lake, marble mountains wilderness

The chief of the search operation, Grizz Adams (see also Carl Landers disappearance, Mt. Shasta), was mystified as getting from the south part of the lake was virtually impossible off trail without climbing equipment and especially for a 70 year old lady. The only other exit was through camp past the cook and Red Hawk's son. The sniffer dogs never picked up any scent, her lunch bag wasn't located but a tuft of hair was located around half a mile from the  area where it is believed she was walking but unfortunately this was never DNA tested. No clothing, body, bones, tracks, blood were ever found, which would dismiss an attack by a bear or wild cat. 

In an interview by Dave Paulides and Red Hawk, he believed that Rosemary had got to a place called Devil's Back Canyon. He didn't have any direct evidence for this but seemed sure.

Some have postulated that Rosemary committed suicide after depression caused by the death of her husband Bud, but if so why did she ask Red Hawk's son to join her on the walk?