A friend and co-worker of missing Rocklin hiker Cody Michael described him Wednesday as an experienced outdoorsman who has made frequent backpacking treks with his dog.
“He’s very adventurous,” said Beau Ingram, a fellow employee at Primo Pizza Burger Brew in Rocklin.
Rescue teams were out again Wednesday in the Donner Summit area in search of 23-year-old Michael and his dog, Bauer, who have been missing since Monday morning. The search was aided by two helicopters.
Michael texted a picture to his family Monday morning on the second day of his backpacking trip. He is shown kneeling atop a granite boulder, smiling as he poses with his German shepherd.
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Michael is wearing a backpack and the dog is clad in protective dog booties and a dog pack. His text said he would be leaving the Loch Leven area by noon, but his family hasn’t heard from him since. His vehicle was found at the trailhead.
Placer County Sheriff spokeswoman Dena Erwin said 30 searchers headed out at 7 a.m. Wednesday. A National Guard helicopter was taking searchers into the high country where the search is centered. The area has snow in the higher reaches, about 7,000 feet.
“It’s a four-hour hike to get back to where they plan to search,” Erwin said. “The helicopter can shuttle ground searchers to the area.”
Officials posted a deputy overnight at Michael’s car in case he returned, but he did not.
“We’re hoping for the best,” Erwin said.
Michael is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall and 175 pounds. He has brown hair and green eyes.
California State University, Sacramento, officials confirmed that Michael graduated in fall 2015 with a degree in criminal justice.
Erwin said Michael is a part-time or extra-help employee with the Placer County Probation Department.
Ingram said he understood that Michael was working at the county’s juvenile hall while continuing to work a couple of days a week at Primo. He had been scheduled for a shift at the restaurant on Monday.
“He’s one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had here,” Ingram said.
Michael is the eldest of three children and a Rocklin High School graduate, Ingram said. The two men are sports enthusiasts, and Ingram said Michael, a 49ers fan, frequently spent time at Ingram’s house watching football.
Ingram said he found it “weird” that searchers had found no sign of Michael or his dog. Michael took the dog with him everywhere, and if he were injured, Ingram said, the dog would stay with him.
Fifteen searchers participated in Tuesday’s effort. A helicopter was in place, but could not be used that day because of high winds. Sheriff’s officials said they cannot use volunteers, as only people who have gone through rigorous training are allowed on a search.
They ask people not involved in the search to stay off trails in the area so as not interfere with search operations.
Anyone who was hiking in the Loch Leven area, near Hampshire Rocks Road, either Sunday or Monday and saw Michael is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 530-886-5375.
A Facebook photo of Michael and his dog, posted by the Placer County sheriff, has gotten more than 200,000 hits by Wednesday morning.