Arvin Nelson, Disappeared August 6th, 2014, Ventana wilderness, Los Padres National Forest, California
Arvin Nelson, 55, began his solo backpacking trip to Big Sur Station in the Los Padres National Forest on August the 6th, 2014, starting his hike at the China Camp Trailhead.
Arvin was dropped off by a friend at China Camp near Tassajara Road and planned to hike the eastern side of the Ventana Wilderness, including the Pine Ridge Trail, an area he had never visited before. He was expected to arrive at the Big Sur Station on August 14 and when he didn’t arrive searchers were notified and they began Search and Rescue operations on August 16th in the area. Nelson was an experienced hiker and he told friends that if he didn’t make contact with them at the time agreed they should report him missing
Monterey County Sheriff’s deputies, the National Guard, the U.S. Forest Service, the California Highway Patrol and other agencies were all involved in the search with the help of three helicopters and approximately 30 foot searchers on the ground every day.
The last known sighting of Arvin was on August 6th, when he met Jack English, who lived for 13 years in an isolated cabin in the Ventana Wilderness, and his son Dennis. When the father and son were picked up by helicopter two days later on the 8th, Arvin stayed and saw them off. He told them he was planning to stay and hike 11 miles to Sykes on August 10th.
Nelson had taken a lot of gear and food with him because of the length of time he had planned for this solo hike. For this reason, the authorities continued their search for longer than they normally would as his chance of survival were higher.
To this day, no sign of Arvin has been found. Another solo hiker lost in the American wilderness.