Lost day-hiker spends a night in the Minaret Wilderness, is found the next day

For a one day-hiker in the Minaret Wilderness, an ordinary day-hike on Monday turned into a day-night sojurn, finishing with a helicopter ride.

The hiker, a 22-year-old man who was separated from his friends near Devils Postpile National Monument, spent Monday night in the Minaret Wilderness before being picked up by helicopter Tuesday morning with help from the Mono County Search and Rescue team.

The hiker’s identity and home town were not known as of Tuesday afternoon. He was unhurt, said Pete DeGeorge of the sheriff’s department.

DeGeorge said the hiker’s friends notified the Mono County Sheriff’s office that their friend was missing shortly before nightfall Monday. Search-and-rescue ground teams began their search shortly after sunrise on Tuesday.

Amazingly, the lost hiker was able to establish a cell-phone connection early Tuesday,, and by talking with the crew of a rescue helicopter from Yosemite National Park, the chopper's pilot found a place to land and picked him up shortly thereafter.

The chopper crew dropped him off at Minaret Vista, where he had access to Devils Postpile and a reunion with his pals.

It was probably the longest day hike of his life.