MOLALLA – Two teens missing since Saturday after they went for a hike in the Table Rock area east of Molalla were found safe Monday, deputies said.
The two were not hurt. They had an emotional reunion with family members after rescuers brought them back to the trailhead Monday afternoon.
"I'm so grateful for all the love and everyone who came and helped look for us. It was great," said 17-year-old Jackson Chandler, his voice shaking with emotion.
Chandler and 16-year-old Bradley Nelson, both from the West Linn area, left Saturday to go for a day hike in the Molalla River Corridor and did not return home, said Nate Thompson with the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
Crews started looking for the teens Saturday night after their parents called search and rescue, Thompson said. Their pickup truck was found in Lost Creek Meadow, which is several miles east of Table Rock Trail.
Just after 2 p.m. Monday the teens were found by a person driving along a forest service road about six miles from where the teens' truck was found.
"It was a relief because he offered to give us a ride and I felt like we were going to be okay after that,” Nelson said.
”The thing that we had to keep telling ourselves is, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, Taco Bell isn’t going to come to us,” Chandler added.
Both teens are experienced hikers and had done overnight hikes before. But they had never been to that particular trail and they did not have any food with them. They said they used a camp stove to stay warm at night and survival skills they learned in Boy Scouts.
The two were just a few months away from becoming Eagle Scouts.
About 45 to 50 searchers had helped look for the pair, including some who were using 4-wheel drive vehicles to check remote area roads and two National Guard helicopters in the air.