Mt. Hood mushroom picker grateful for rescuers

Clackamas County

While Akemi Takahashi had left her phone in her car, she did have a whistle with her for emergencies

A mushroom picker was rescued from near Trillium Lake after a night in the elements. (Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office)

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — An 80-year-old Tigard woman is recovering after she got lost in the woods overnight while mushroom picking on Mount Hood. She is a little battered and bruised from taking some spills in the woods, but mostly, she’s grateful to those who found her and helped lead her to safety.

Akemi Takahashi is an experienced mushroom picker, and said she typically doesn’t go out into the woods. But on Thursday, she was with a friend in the Trillium Lake area, and felt more confident about going out. Takahashi said it started getting dark early, and she became separated from her friend when they started spotting a highly sought-after mushroom called the Matsutake.

“When I found Matsutake, I was so excited—I went chasing Matsutake,” said Takahashi.

After a time, Takahashi realized that she was lost and it was getting dark.

Akemi Takahashi, 80, pictured on the left, went foraging on Mt. Hood on Sept. 19. (Courtesy photo)

She had a whistle with her that she bought at REI for emergencies, and started whistling for her foraging partner.

“And then I whistle 100 times,” said Takahashi.

Unfortunately, her friend was out of range and couldn’t hear it. She tried to hike toward what sounded like the highway, but that highway noise was actually the sound of a rushing river deep in the woods.

Takahashi said that because it was dark and damp she started slipping on wet logs and leaves that left her with some big bruises. She had only a jacket, a mushroom bag, and a pack of gum—she had left her phone in the car.

“It was very, very cold,” she said.

The 80-year-old who does water aerobics 5 times a week in Tigard, began putting those moves to good use to stay warm through the night.

She started whistling again as the sun started to rise the next day. That’s when a drone flew overheard and she knew that her friend had gone for help. “When I saw the drone, I feel very lucky,” she said. “Someone is looking for me.”

A rescuer found her by following the sound of her whistle. Takahashi estimates she was about a mile away from the trail.

“I want to say thank you very much for the rescuer who found me,” said Takahashi.

She was in good spirits on Saturday about the ordeal. Takahashi said this mishap won’t stop her from going mushroom picking in the future, but her advice is to never go out after 2 p.m.

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