EVERETT — An Everett man has been missing for two weeks, since he supposedly began a distance hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.
His family is concerned because Gavin Johnston, 28, has almost no hiking experience and he may be having a mental health crisis.
The weekend before he went missing, Johnston told his parents he’d been talking with Jesus, and that he wanted to quit his new job and be homeless, according to his stepmother, Debora Johnston.
He called his father and surprised him Oct. 17 by saying he was driving to Stevens Pass for a two-month trip south on the Pacific Crest Trail. His father asked if he had permits and if he was going toward I-90.
“I don’t know. I don’t know where I-90 is,” his son answered.
His family has been in touch with a forest official who spoke with Johnston at 5 p.m. Oct. 18 in Skykomish. That’s the last confirmed sighting.
His car was found at Stevens Pass, with little evidence to suggest where he went.
One hiker reported she may have seen Johnston on Oct. 20, on the Kendall Katwalk Trail, about 75 miles south near Snoqualmie Pass. His family doesn’t believe he could hike that far, in 1½ days, with a giant backpack.
Johnston had bought $1,100 in gear from Cabela’s just before he left. If he brought everything that was missing from his home and car, he would have an enormous 70-pound external-frame backpack, not counting food or water, his stepmother said.
A partial list of his gear — a black North Face coat, two yellow ponchos, a Midland radio — is on a Facebook page, Find Gavin Johnston PCT 2018.
His family later learned Johnston had stopped showing up to work for a week.
The Chelan County Sheriff’s Office searched around Stevens Pass by helicopter Monday and Tuesday, when weather allowed. They found no trace of him.
Meanwhile, family members have canvassed the trails. They’re not sure if Johnston went north, south, onto a side trail — or if he hitchhiked out of the region. Thru-hikers on the PCT have been shown pictures of him. None have recognized him.
Signs have been posted at trailheads from Canada to Oregon. If you’ve seen Johnston, call Chelan County dispatchers at 509-663-9911.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; email@example.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.
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