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Lost Gorge hiker takes shelter in lodge

Rescuers find man in good condition at lodge owned by Trails Club of Oregon

A 25-year-old hiker from Illinois got lost in the Columbia River Gorge Monday night, but was found by rescuers after he took refuge in a lodge owned by Trails Club of Oregon.

At about 7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 2, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to a report of a lost hiker, said Lt. Mark Matsushima, a fill-in spokesman at the Sheriff's Office.

Matsushima said, the call was for help was unusual in that it came from a member of the Trails Club of Oregon who was relaying information from the lost hiker to police.

The hiker, Vasil Gerginski of Niles, Ill., had started his hike from the Multnomah Falls parking lot at about 4 p.m. Authorities said he was not dressed or equipped for a prolonged stay in the wet and rapidly freezing conditions.

He was relying on an iPhone app called "Flashlight" to light the trail in the dark, Matsushima said.

The hiker became lost in the network of trails above Multnomah Falls.

Matsushima said the man stopped using the app on his phone when he noticed it was quickly draining his battery.

Fortunately Gerginski stumbled across Nesika Lodge.

He found emergency contact information posted on the building, leading to his call for help, Matsushima said.

Owned and maintained by the Trails Club, the lodge is about four miles from Multnomah Falls and is normally reached by a trail that runs along Multnomah Creek.

The main lodge has a full kitchen, wood stove, dining space and space to sit around a fireplace. It also has two dormitories that have room for up to 60 people to sleep.

A Trail Club member urged Gerginski to take shelter in the lodge until help could arrive, Matshushima said.

Gerginski's phone ran out of power before police could speak to him.

Search and rescuers made their way to the lodge using unmaintained emergency roads.

They found Gerginski in Nesika Lodge at about midnight.

He was in good condition, Matshushima said.

Rescues dropped Gerginski at his car in the Multnomah Falls parking lot.

Matshushima said he intended go home to Illinois later today.

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