VENTURA COUNTY, Calif. - Ventura County Sheriff's deputies rescued a dirt bike rider who became stranded on a trail in the Los Padres National Forest and wandered several miles away.
The sheriff's office received a 911 call around 11:40 a.m. on Thursday from a family member of the dirt biker who said the man's dirt bike had broken down on Halfmoon Trail.
Deputies described Halfmoon Trail as a predominantly single-track dirt bike trail rated as "most difficult." It is located in northern Ventura County near Lockwood Valley.
A deputy at the Lockwood Valley Sheriff's Station responded to the call for help and mounted a Polaris RZR four-seat utility-task vehicle (or UTV). The deputy then rode the UTV to Halfmoon Trail near where the rider was believed to be. The deputy then hiked an additional 0.3 miles before locating a a dirt bike on the trail with no rider.
The deputy located shoe prints believed to belong to the bike rider and followed them for several miles before arriving at Sunset Campground.
There, the deputy found a pair of abandoned dirt bike riding boots and a chest protector.
After searching the area, the deputy found a trail of sock footprints in the dirt which led to Piru Creek Trail.
The sheriff's office said due to the fact that temperatures were over 90 degrees at this time and the missing biker was walking in only socks, additional resources were called to join in on the search.
The sheriff's said one of the Lockwood Valley deputies and State Park Rangers began hiking west on the Piru Creek Trail from Gold Hill Campground while the other Lockwood Valley deputy continued hiking east on Piru Creek Trail following sock prints in the dirt.
After hiking about four and a half miles, deputies finally located the bike rider fatigued and dehydrated.
Despite his tired state, the rider was reportedly able to hike back to Sunset Campground with the deputy who found him.
He was then loaded onto a UTV and transported to the Lockwood Valley Sheriff's Station.
The sheriff's office said they were able to recover the rider's dirt bike and teach him a valuable lesson about planning ahead and recognizing the difficulty of trails.