Missoula 911 Dispatch received an urgent phone call on Wednesday evening from two hikers saying they and their dog were lost in the Grant Creek area following a long day hike.

The hikers said they carried items just sufficient for a day hike but they did not bring enough equipment and clothing to stay in the woods overnight.

Missoula County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Jeannette Smith picks up the story.

“Missoula County Search and rescue was activated at approximately 10:45 on Wednesday night,” said Smith. “Search teams deployed to the areas of highest probability based on the information provided to Missoula County 9-1-1 along with the likely direction of travel for the missing hikers.”

Smith said communication had to be relayed from one source to another.

“Our dispatchers played an instrumental role in this search,” she said. “The hikers had a 9-1-1 only phone, therefore they were only able to communicate directly with our dispatchers,” she said. “In turn, the dispatchers were able to relay critical information to the Search and Rescue personnel via hand-held radio in real time. Search and Rescue personnel found the two hikers and their dog at 1:57 a.m. on Thursday.”

With that circumstance in mind, Smith passed along important information to anyone who may be planning to hike in the woods around Missoula.

“Search and Rescue reminds all those who recreate this time of year to plan for the unexpected,” she said. “Bring extra clothing, food, water and communications devices like cell phones, and also location devices like GPS units. Additionally, keep in mind that creek crossings remain dangerous with cold, fast-moving water and slippery conditions.”

In addition, Search and Rescue advises all hikers to notify someone about where you are going and when you plan to return.