Harold Drake, disappeared July 8th 2015, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, California
Harold Drake, 76, was last seen on July 8th, 2015, when he told a friend that he was going on a long hike whilst they were camping together in the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in Monterey County, California.
Although Harold was retired he was described as an experienced hiker and physically fit. He was a high school math professor until he retired.
He took a gallon of water and a small pack containing snacks with him for the hike and planned to return that afternoon to the campsite. But Harold never returned and his friend reported him missing to authorities at around 10pm that evening.
The Monterey County Search and Rescue Team (SAR) along with the Monterey County Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR) conducted a search of Pine Ridge Trail and Mt. Manuel Trail, which are the main trails leading out of the park. California State Park Rangers conducted a search of Pfeiffer State Park and adjacent short trails. Another SAR team conducted a search of the Big Sur River Gorge, which is another popular destination leading away from the park. On August 10th, search and rescue teams from Monterey, Marin, and Santa Cruz County arrived to conduct a further search of the trail and a helicopter from Naval Air Station Lemoore and CHP also assisted with the search.
After an intensive 5-day search by air and ground, the Monterey County Sheriff's search and rescue team called off the search effort.
No sign of Harold was found and to this day his body remains missing in the wilderness. An acquaintance said Drake was not the kind of hiker to get himself into trouble, having hiked the John Muir Trail, parts of the Pacific Crest Trail and finishing the Tahoe Rim Trail. But at 76 years old anything could have happened. But it seems unusual that his body was not recovered given it would seem unlikely he walked voluntarily off trail.