Lost and Found: How the Missing Man Found His Way from Near Blocksburg to Redcrest

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Brian Griffin’s bloody sock. [All photos provided by Tony Perez]

Brian Griffin who was lost for almost three days in the area between Blocksburg and Redcrest doesn’t know what exactly went wrong but he knows for sure that somehow he got turned around. “I was aiming for Alderpoint” the whole time, he explained. But he ended up in the opposite direction roughly 20 miles from where he started. “I guess I’m too stubborn to change my mind,” he said with a rueful laugh.

Griffin, a 34-year-old who recently moved here from Fort Worth, Texas, was living in a rural cabin east of Fort Seward when he got separated from his dog and his cabin not long before dark. Griffin said, he’d been working hard and hadn’t been drinking water so he thinks he might have been dehydrated and not thinking clearly. Griffin said he’d followed his dog west into a rugged area before losing him.

When he got to a ridge, he heard his cellphone beep and realized he had service so he called a friend, Tony Perez telling him that he was lost. “I told Tony I got separated from the cabin and I’m having trouble finding my way,” explained Griffin.

Perez, who was alone with his small child, arranged for another friend to travel to the area and see if he could find Griffin. The friend drove the roads honking, hoping the sound would bring Griffin to safety but, though Griffin could sometimes hear the horn and see the headlights, he had difficulty pinning down exactly how to get to the vehicle. “I knew this must be him [but] the sound moved back and forth through the ridges,” he said.

Eventually, Griffin says he discovered a fenceline that he was pretty sure would get him to the road. At that moment a man drove an all terrain vehicle about a football field length away from him. Griffin says the man gave him “the impression I was going to get shot….He turned his lights on and his ATV on and shined his flashlight on me and then on his rifle giving me the impression that I’d better not go any closer.”

Griffin decided that he needed to go in the opposite direction from the man with the firearm. “I turned around and tried to go back the way I came. I was dehydrated when I started….With everything together, it became difficult to navigate. It was [almost] dark. I had no flashlight or anything–just a pair of shorts, a t-shirt, torn up boots and a utility knife.

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Brian Griffin’s boot after he made it to safety. [Photo provided by Tony Perez]

Soon after that, Griffin says he fell. “My boots were really slick and had holes in them. I was standing on 4 inch thick floor of leaves. I started sliding down the hill. I lost control. I went through some thorns.”

Griffin said that he must have hit hard. He doesn’t remember very well. “[B]ut when I got back up, everything did not look the same….I tried crawling out of there.”  He thinks this is when he got badly turned around. “I tried navigating my way…to Alderpoint….I looked around [and] thought I knew the right direction. [But] I think all the directions after that were wrong.

Not long after that, Griffin says he “stumbled across a pig.” It was pretty dark by this time so he doesn’t actually know but the animal “made some noises and snorted….It didn’t sound like a small one. It sounded like a monster.”  Griffin found a tree and climbed it quickly. After a time, the animal left and he climbed down.

“I walked a little further,” he said but, “it was so dark I could not see my hand.” He realized that he needed to stop wandering. Against the skyline he “found a tree with a big wide branch covered in moss. I slept on it.” Later, shivering with cold, he climbed down to the foot of the tree and covered himself with moss.

At the first light he was up and on the move again. “I kept trying to find my way back to the cabin and the right spot,” he said. “I knew the Van Duzen was just going to be over the next hill. But the problem was I was going the wrong direction. I wasn’t familiar with the Van Duzen or the Eel.”

Thursday and Friday, Griffin says he tried several ways to attract attention. At one point he tried to start a tire on fire with some glasses he found in some rubbish and some dry tinder . “There were many tires in addition to a lot of trash back in that beautiful area,” he explained. The tire started smoking but didn’t appear to give off enough to bring help.  He also tried to catch a helicopter pilot’s attention with some reflective material.

But eventually he decided he would need to hike out. He had found some berries and water that had helped him think more clearly. So he headed out “in a non-panicked and famished state of mind.”

In the course of hike out, Griffin said he found a lot of water and some berries. He even found some dirt roads and abandoned structures but no one responded when he yelled for help. “I walked by a few houses and screamed out that I was lost but you could see that there was nobody there.” He was afraid to go up the dirt roads and away from water. He also said that after his experience with the man with the gun, he was afraid that people there might hurt him.

Several times he heard people hammering or otherwise working and talking. “I hollared out, ‘Hello, Hello! I’m lost!’ Then I heard no more speaking or hammering.” Griffin said he just continued on then. “I didn’t look to the right or left after that. They were obviously more concerned with hiding then helping.”

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Griffin’s blistered foot.

About mid-morning on Saturday, Griffin said he saw “a truck crossing a bridge. I waved it down.”

He says he told the man, “I don’t know where I am. I’m dehydrated.” The man, he said, didn’t give him directions or help. “He said keep walking [and] kicked the truck in reverse and drove on.”

Griffin says that he thinks the man thought he was “a tweeker.”

“I was cut up. I was dirty. I had a black trash bag over my back [holding items he’d found to help him survive.] There is no telling what I looked like.”


Griffin not long after he made it back to civilization.

At some point, Griffin said, he had wrapped his cellphone, his wallet, his passport and his money in a ziplock bag he’d found in the trash and tied them all to a belt loop so that when he had to swim across waterways, they would stay dry.

Eventually, on Saturday, Griffin said he saw a paved road in the distance and started heading towards that. “When I saw a paved road, I knew there were folks that would listen to me,” he said. “I hiked across a river and climbed up a fairly steep bank full of poison ivy [probably poison oak] and sticks and roots.”

Eventually, he came across someone who pointed him towards the little town of Redcrest. He saw a woman in a yard and started telling her his story. “A hunter from out of town heard me [and said,] ‘I find this hard to believe.'” He wanted to hear the details so he drove Griffin a short distance to the Eternal Tree House Cafe in Redcrest. “When I walked in the door, the cashier…the cook, she said you are on the internet. Call the sheriff.”

Eventually, Griffin was able to get hold of the sheriff and his friend. The hunter and the folks in the cafe, he said gratefully, were helpful.

“That place there was real nice,” he said.

When the sheriff deputy showed up to check on him, Griffin told him that he didn’t need medical help. He had however hurt his left leg favoring it because of the blisters he had gotten. “I kinda wore that leg out.” He also said his “knee was swollen.”  All in all though, Griffin says, he was “in pretty good shape.”

Today, he’s watching his friend’s kid paint and keeping her from chasing the neighbor’s cat. Life is a lot less exciting than it was the last few days. He sounds like he likes it like that.


After a shower, Brian Griffin recovers from his time missing in the hills.




  • What a story! So glad he is safe. The story has a lot of Humboldt’s different aspects in it. Not always safe and friendly, can be big and wild, easy to get lost. Also the traveling beauty hint: Try not to look like a tweeker

  • Glad he made it out ok. Can’t believe Humboldt is so filled with unfriendly people. What is the danger of drinking all that water?

  • Great that he got out… He doesn’t mention crossing the Main Eel… I wonder if he started west of the Eel…

    • He said he used a bucket he found as a flotation device to help him cross a waterway. It sounds like he did it a couple of times. At least one of those was probably the Eel.

    • Had to be the Eel to get to Redcrest. I love the shirt and the fact he’s puffing a bowl.

  • You couldn’t pay me enough $$$$ to aimlessly stumble around the humboldt county hills this time of year. I get this dude just moved here from Tx and was looking for his dog, but come on….had he disturbed a decent sized trespass grow he could still be out there with a gun pointed to his grill or even worse gone for good.

  • This guy has been my best friend since I was a kid! I knew if any one could make it he would!!!!

    • Natural selection should of taken care of your friend long ago.

      • Natural selection should have taken care of you.
        You have no idea what you’re talking about. You do not know him, what a wonderful person he is, or anything. It seems that you’re an unhappy icky person. You really wish death on someone? Who do you think you are? Be careful with what you say and wish for, some people will not tolerate your stupidity or bullshit.

    • He might be your best friend but this not a place you want to wander around in this time of year. Granted it was an accident but he needs to have a better understanding of just where he is. This isn’t the normal county, it is dangerous. I lived there for 10 years and my father was a law enforcement officer. I know the risks and he definitely risked his life. He needs to me educated in what it means to live Humboldt County before he has a family that depends on his knowledge.

      • Fired, back to Texas. Trying to start a fire with tires in this drought with glasses you found? There’s smoke in this tale. Not buying it

      • if it was commonplace for trespassers to be shot around here we would have a lot less vagrants now wouldn’t we. I would imagine if he was a little more persistent with the people he came across they probably would have ended up helping him, the only thing most people like less on their property than the random trespasser is the search party ond or Sheriff looking for said lost trespasser.

    • Micah! I knew he’d make it out just fine, he’s a smart guy!! I hope you guys are both doing good now!

  • His story is all BS…. How about the truth guy?!?!

    • You don’t know what your are talking about. Have you ever been to NORTHERN California. If so you must have had blinders on. This is not a place you mess with. Pot or whatever you want call it is the number one industry in this county so unless you know what you are talking about keep your mouth shut. I was raised right in the middle of it and promised my family we would never move back there

      • Go join the circus lady! Good we dont want you or him here, please stay away! Do us a favor! How about what he was really doing?

        • I agree with u. This guys story shouldn’t even be mentioned. [edit] I am so surprised at how many are believing and supporting it. “Found a bucket and used it as a floatation devise to cross waterways” what waterway do u need to have a floatation devise to cross this time of year here? Did he find a soccer ball and name it Wilson! Give me a break dude. U being a flat lander got u in this mess, and the dumb decisions u made kept u out as long as u were. Tons of us could have this same story but we head back to our cabin after we are walking in the woods with our passport and warn out boots.

        • [edit] he was lost and needed help [edit]

  • I grew up in Redway/Garberville area (not far from Redcrest and close to Alderpoint and can totally think this can happen). It isn’t safe to wander into unknown areas this time year.

  • I’m glad he made it out okay. On the other hand, you cannot go looking for your dog to hell and back. If a dog doesn’t return put up flyers and stay on main roads to look. It is better to lose the dog than your life. I think because of the rip offs and property invasions people are defensive and suspicious.

  • No matter.how you made it out you did,and lived to tell about it.thank your lucky stars,and write a book

  • Amateurs like this guy shouldnt be left unnatended in the woods, for exactly this reason.

  • Maybe he had so much trouble finding his way was because of that “bowl”. Doesn’t sound like he should be out too far by himself if doesn’t pay attention to his surroundings. Maybe he should take up his growing back in the flat lands.

  • People like this [edit] have ruined this area. I don’t know how many dogs I’ve had to shoot because of out of town assholes who think their city dogs will stick around.
    And [edit: who] gets lost in such a densely populated area, full of dirt roads and vantage points looking for a dog!!
    Fucking mind blowing.

    • What you’re saying is absolutely true. I can’t count the times ‘townies’ would come to visit and bring their town dogs. First thing the dogs do when the tailgate goes down is tear off through the woods like a bat out of hell. I kept warning this one guy and yes, on day one of his dogs didn’t return. My guess, coyote dinner.

  • Seriously he thinks its funny to put a pic of him about to hit a bowl after a stupid story like that. No wonder he almost got shot and the guy in the truck didn’t help. [edit] Go back to Texas and do your drugs there. If you can’t figure out where you are between fort Seward and redcrest why are you out in the woods. Any local 5 yr old can find his way back or at least to the road

    • He originally got lost near Blocksburg, and ended up coming out of the woods in Redcrest..

      • Doesn’t Larrabee Creek hit the Eel near Recrest or Shively? The headwaters start in Blocksburg. Could have just followed Larrabee all the way down.

  • Please go back to texas We dont need any more transplants go back

    • What we don’t need is big growers who forget their ancestors where all transplants as well. We need hella transplants that move here for reasons other then growing. I moved here for the trees, I didn’t even know weed was grown here. Now I happily contribute way more then more pot plants. The people growing 1000s of plants are the problem and that is the born and raised people that think their God and can decide who is worthy of moving here.

  • Lost Croat Outburst

    Very glad he made it out OK. This is the kind of stuff we do when we are young and clueless. Been there, have the T -shirt. To be fair, I can’t believe that wandering around rural Texas in rhe dark won’t get you confronted by a property owner with a gun. Given our history for years now, everyone is suspect. This may not be Alaska, but it ‘s pretty wild. Crappy K-Mart boots and clothing will not cut it. Guess he never got the “So you’re new to SoHum” brochure. This is the real story? Honestly? Turning your dog loose to attack wildlife, livestock, and neighbors is bullshit. What if his tire fire had taken off and burned up him, his cabin, and thousands of acres? Nice obit. At 34, it’s time to wise up a little.

  • If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, odds are, its a duck…..

  • Ive talked with him for hours about his experience now.. He left the cabin to go after his dog around 8:00 pm and got lost up the hill as it was getting dark.. He then starting to get a phone signal as he walking, so he went higher and to get a better signal.. after two quick calls, then his phone died.. He said he was on the ridge and could see what he thought to be Alderpoint when he called initially..
    He never got the text saying to stay put and kill his phone to save his battery….By then, with no moonlight, he couldn’t find the right way back down.. He was told to keep moving by people on several occasions while trying to ask for help, he said he could have been out days earlier….. Oh, and the fire, he put the bi-focals on a stick just right and very still in the sun, and he DID start the tire on fire (in a dirt clearing trying to be seen), thick black smoke was coming from it, but it would only go a short ways up and dissipate… He said it was a total waste of energy, but he knew the forest or he was not in danger from it at any time.. He’s still got the bifocals.. I couldn’t believe it when he pulled them out of his pocket..Ill upload the pic of them in the morning…BTW, this guy don’t smoke cigarettes, drink, or do drugs.. He’s a guy anyone would be glad to call their friend, if you knew him, you would say the same thing, he treats everyone with respect, saying “yes Mam, and No Mam, “Yes Sir, no Sir” to anyone that ask him something… If someone came to his cabin in the manner he was in, he would be the first to help them, thats his nature, call it green, clueless, or whatever you may call him, but he made it through 3 nights and 4 days out there because he’s tough, determined, and persistent, not some clueless tweeker walking around talking to himself, trying to get out of the woods.. He made a mistake that he won’t make again, this guy will learn from this, not everyone would…and yes, he does medicate with cannabis.. After 4 days in the woods like that, I think I might join him.. His friends, family, and many huge hearted strangers online, are happy he is alive and well…

    • This guys story shouldn’t even be mentioned. [edit] I am so surprised at how many are believing and supporting it. “Found a bucket and used it as a floatation devise to cross waterways” what waterway do u need to have a floatation devise to cross this time of year here? Did he find a soccer ball and name it Wilson! Give me a break dude. U being a flat lander got u in this mess, and the dumb decisions u made kept u out as long as u were. Tons of us could have this same story but we head back to our cabin after we are walking in the woods with our passport and warn out boots.

    • I’m sorry he went through this. Im from Lubbock tx and I’ve had a hard time going from southern hospitality to a place where people treat you like scum when your lost in the woods. I moved here after driving around to find somewhere pretty to live. I learned about the industry after moving here. I thought cool, must be full of nice hippies then. 7 years later I’ve been proved wrong more times then I can count. I hope I can continue to live here, I still love the forest I moved here for but the greed and lack of compassion is too much for me. I hope this county brings more nice transplants that stay nice and the big growers don’t scare off people bringing southern hospitality with em.

  • I hope after all that, he doesn’t end up with poison oak!

  • [edit] Any reasonable sober person would be able to back track and get back to safety but with a head full I’m not so sure. Way to leave that part out of your story mr Brian. You might be able to fool the masses but I ain’t buying it….nice Jerry Garcia shirt btw

    • If it were not for the property owner not letting him pass, he would have made it to Alderpoint Rd. that night.. He was sober, as always, this dude don’t even have a beer, much less any drugs, etc… He works too damn hard and don’t drink enough water, he now has a new camelback on the way!

  • Wow! Sounds like a lot of jerks live down that way. Somebody calling for help because they’re lost…you friggin’ help them! Then go back to growing your weed. Talk about some screwed-up priorities! Sounds like a whole neighborhood of greedy, selfish pricks. Hope they all get popped.

    • dude he was near Alderpoint he’s just lucky he was not mistaken for a goat;-) and it was probably tweakers that were hiding from him.

  • I just read all the comments. I have to say some of you are really disappointing sorry excuses for humans. You’re so hateful, judgemental, probably racists as well. You losers should have been stuck out there. I would like to see your survival skills. Take your negativity and keep it yourselves.

  • This story is an embarrassment to Humboldt County. If somebody is lost, you fucking help them. Period, end of story. These comments reveal more about the true character of Humboldt County than any of the feel good stories Kym does about picking up trash or anything else people say to try to gloss over the fact that people here are self centered.

  • The shitty comments that were deleted were probably from the people same people who told him to keep moving….

  • Kym deleted my previous post [Edit: As I said, if you want to accuse someone of something, you can’t do it anonymously. I wouldn’t let anyone do it to you and I won’t let you do it to someone else. Kym] Fact 2 – Kym writes and exposes people’s property on the Internet without verification. [Edit: Circling a rough area where someone is lost on a large map is pretty innocuous. The map came down after the person was found. Kym]

    Kym maybe you should move to Texas with these transplants and you guys can just make up what ever you want .

    • You know if any of you assholes came to Texas, you would be treated kindly and with respect, even though you don’t deserve it. I can’t imagine being so lowly like you and the others that have spoken on this article. You people are truly disturbed. I wish you well.

  • This story doesn’t sound legit to me. How many waterways have enough water to have to swim across right now? Even if he came to a big hole like Holmes or High Rock it’s not a long walk around them. I also don’t like the lighting a tire on fire idea…

  • Glad he was able to put the tire fire out. More holes than Swiss cheese, he needs to stay on the path/road next time, dangerous area no trespassing allowed..lesson learned I hope.

  • This isn’t news [edit] These people are publicized as if no one came before them and they are some sort of pioneers. I greatly appreciate your fire coverage, as this is a hard time for us out there, but I certainly hope these out-of-towners are not given any more glorified attention. They need to learn humility in a place that is not their home or their community; rather, stories like this one inflate their egos even more. No wonder locals hate them. Not everyone lives in the woods because they like people and/or want to help people. Not sure why folks are surprised about that; it obviously means they don’t know the community very well or they are trying to dictate the kind of community they want without listening to all the members that live within it. I am personally sick of chasing guys like this off my family’s property [edit] I’m tired of guys like this coming onto my family’s property and claiming it belongs to them and bullying my elderly mother. I am sick of cars full of “trimsters” speeding down our road and almost hitting myself and nephew while we walk our property, or cars full of guys I’ve never seen before sexually harassing me when I am running on our road. I wish the local people would publicize these kind of stories and show the ugly side to some of these out-of-towners that are so glorified during this green-rush.

  • He said the water he crossed on the last day at around 8am, (had to be The Eel) was a big sharp curve in the river, with huge rocks as big as the house, with waterfalls.. the hole was at least 100 feet across and twice that long, the second one was about half that size.. this would have been 5-6 hours before walking out at Redcrest…
    I’ve been here 20 years, a homeowner, landowner, my daughter born here, unfortunately, my wife passed here (a fatal crash between Dean’s Creek and Redway 3 years ago, RIP Elena) so, I consider this my home, at this point, I’m not an outsider anymore..
    If I have learned anything about this place, Ive learned that there are some wonderful, loving, people here, and I’m glad to raise my daughter here amongst such a beautiful community, although I know this is not everyone’s experience here in Humboldt.. Many come and go…
    For the people in the hills, it’s their life, let them live it, and don’t get lost there, if you do, learn from it, like any mistake in life..
    My friend is a survivor. I wouldn’t want to stay in my backyard in shorts and a t-shirt for 60 something hours, much less travel on foot roughly 20 miles and survive in the mountains with no help..and yes, it was survival… He easily could have died..or easily been assisted…the choice was theirs, I’m happy my friend made it out alive…

  • I can understand people being afraid he was a tweeker or rip off. I could even understand warning shots if no one answered although he didn’t mention any. What I can’t understand is the hateful remarks after it’s over. Or the reason no men went out and asked him what the h*ll was going on or what he was doing if so many heard him, especially if he was on their land! If I had land out there and some confused lost guy was wandering through the entire area I’d be highly motivated to call my neighbors and lead him out some way, give at least a short drive to a main road and point them in the right direction! At the very least. It would benefit everyone! Unless there is a real story about him caught trying to rip someone off (by himself?), then I suspect you all aren’t much more functional then he was. Or do you not even know your neighbors?

  • It’s a fact that certain unnamed people have been trespassing in that exact area, and growing right in the dry part of the creek. Just ask the HCSO if you’ve any doubt. The unnamed people actually brought the cops out to show where they’ve been trespassing.

  • I am so glad he is ok and safe. If anyone could of survived this horrible experience it’s Brian!

  • So what if he was going to snag some pot? Does not mean he deserves death penalty via exposure. Some of these comments are so despicable. Lighten up. No harm in giving a guy directions or a bottle of water.

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