Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this


By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Paul Hanks, a La Mesa resident, real estate broker and attorney with an office in Santee, was found by rescuers today in Joshua National Park.  He had fallen some 20 feet off a trail and suffered a head injury, but was conscious when found and is expected to have a full recovery, CBS 8 reports.

An experienced desert hiker, the 54-year-old man left San Diego last Sunday, telling family he was going on a five-day road trip including hiking alone in Joshua Tree.  But he never checked into a hotel he had booked that night, also missing an appointment in Las Vegas the next day. 

His wife, Patti, reported him missing and traveled to Joshua Tree, where a massive search was mounted.  Park spokesman George Land said Hanks’ truck was found at the Maze Loop trail, near where two other missing hikers were recently found dead after their vehicle plunged down a cliff, trapping them and seriously injuring one.  The couple died of an apparent murder-suicide after searchers failed to find them and they ran out of food.

Fortunately, Hanks was found after being missing nearly five days in temperatures that dipped below freezing and was air-lifted to a hospital.



This is a good lesson for all hikers. Never hike alone when in a wilderness location, especially on challenging treks.The one thing he did do which saved his life, was to inform people where he was hiking. Be prepared too, pack extra clothing to layer against inclement weather, water, food and a cell phone (usable if there's a close enough cell tower) and the proper footwear. Stay safe.