MEDFORD, Ore., Dec. 2, 2009 Couple Returns after Tree Hunt Gone Awry
Couple Searching for Christmas Tree in Oregon Mountains Was Stranded When Car Got Stuck in Snow, but Later Freed It
- (AP / CBS)
Authorities say a couple whose vehicle got stuck in the snow on a Christmas tree hunt high in the mountains near the Oregon-California border have returned after going missing for two days.
The Jackson County sheriff's office says Jennifer and Keith Lee of Medford were able to free their all-wheel drive Subaru by placing rocks under the wheels. They called deputies after they reached a small town near home.
Sheriff's Lt. Pat Rowland says the couple called as soon as they got a cell phone signal after hearing a massive search for them had begun.
Rowland says the couple had actually traveled across the border into California, away from the initial search area.
Deputies were interviewing the couple, who had been missing since Tuesday.
Searchers combed icy roads near the crest of the Cascade Range early Thursday, looking for the couple.
Jennifer Lee, 38, and Keith Lee, 36, had set out Tuesday morning but told no one exactly where they were going. Keith Lee is diabetic, a relative said.
The couple told their four kids, ages 8 to 18, that they hoped to bring back a silvertip fir, a prized tree found only at high elevations.
Like thousands of Oregonians each year, the Lees bought their Christmas tree permit from the local national forest office and headed into the mountains, police said. They first went tree hunting Monday but didn't find what they wanted, so they set out again Tuesday after the kids went to school. Jennifer Lee asked a friend to pick up their 8-year-old daughter.
Each year searches are mounted for a few who get stranded or lost while hunting for Christmas trees in Oregon, Rowland said.