Search Continues for Sacramento-Area Woman Missing in Sierra National Forest

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FRESNO --

The Fresno County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team is searching for a hiker who has been missing since Thursday.

Miyuki Harwood, 62, of Orangevale was separated from her hiking group near Horsehead Lake, 100 miles northeast of Fresno. She was last seen at approximately 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

Fresno Sheriff's Deputies spoke with Harwood's friends to try and determine the location she was last seen. A California Highway Patrol helicopter flew over the area, but the crew had difficulties seeing through the smoke from the Rough Fire, burning just 10 miles away.

Lessie Stewart of Sacramento has known Harwood for 16 years. The two started out as co-workers but soon built a close friendship.

“Last year, Miyuki took me hiking for the first time,” Stewart said. “I had never been hiking before. And she was our tour guide. So that lets you know she knows what she's doing.”

Stewart said Harwood is a systems analyst at Intel in Folsom. But every opportunity she gets, Harwood is outdoors.

“She is in phenomenal shape,” Stewart said. “I didn’t know she was even 62.”

A command post has been set up at the Wishon Reserve by the Search and Rescue deputies and volunteers. There is no indication that the woman suffers from a medical condition or would be injured.

Military Helicopter Aids in Search

The nearly 50,000 acre Rough Fire has made aerial searching difficult. But on Sunday afternoon, the National Guard was finally able to deploy a Blackhawk helicopter into the Horsehead area, where Harwood was last seen.

Authorities said there is plenty of water for Harwood to drink. But the heavy smoke she may be exposed to is what worries them.

Still, Stewart remains optimistic her friend will come home safe.

“I'm hopeful because I know how experienced she is,” Stewart said. “She's been doing this for years. This is her passion. And so if anyone can be lost and can find their way back, she can do it.

Harwood is a widow and has no children.

Authorities are asking friends to call them with any information that may lead to Harwood’s discovery. You can reach the Fresno County Sheriff's Office by calling (559) 600-8400.