CA hikers’ woes showed danger of urban wilderness

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Locator on Holy Jim Trail in the Cleveland National Forest, Santa Ana Mountains, Calif. (Google Maps)

Locator on Holy Jim Trail in the Cleveland National Forest, Santa Ana Mountains, Calif. (Google Maps)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — In Southern California, a region where urban sprawl meets pristine wilderness, one can stand on a backwoods trail and be so close to the city as to witness its sights and sounds.

Experts say that’s something that can lead to a false sense of security.

Earlier this week, two teens hiking in a section of the Cleveland National Forest, only a couple miles from a shopping mall, wandered off a trail and were lost for days.

Experts took that incident to remind that, although millions of people may be nearby, the dangers of hiking in any area of steep, rugged terrain are always present.

Mike Leum, who led a team that rescued one of the teens on Thursday, says Los Angeles County had 560 such rescues last year.

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