I've been hearing news about a missing hiker in the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon whose name sounded uncomfortably familiar. This morning my fears were confirmed: the missing woman, whose body was found late Saturday at the base of a cliff near Table Mountain, is Kate Huether, a former Mount Rainier volunteer and SCA intern who worked with us through the summer of 2006.
We originally hired Kate as one of our 12-week summer interns, working in a position jointly supervised by our interpretation and maintenance programs, to help with exhibit installation and trail marking as the snow melted out in the spring on the trails high above Paradise. After her term ended, she stayed on as a volunteer for another month, through September, in love with the high country and her job in it. For many of us here at Mount Rainier, she was a valued coworker and friend.
Like so many of our interns, Kate went on to other great adventures after her time at the park. She was a student of environmental studies Portland State University when she went for a hike more than a week ago, on March 4, and didn't return. She had planned a trip to Chile this summer. She was just 24 years old.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Kate's family and friends.