By Kristen Peters
Bay City News Service
Deputies escorted five hikers back to a Woodside retreat center after they ventured off of a marked trail Wednesday night, the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office said.
At about 5:10 p.m., the Sheriff's Office got a call from the Stillheart Institute at 16350 Skyline Blvd. reporting that five hikers were unable to find their way back to the facility, Lt. Ray Lunny said.
Stillheart Institute spokeswoman Mary Ann Draeger said the group veered off of the pathway into unmarked territory.
"We have two hiking trails that are very clearly marked," Ms. Draeger said. "But the five of them decided to forge away from the markers, and that's when they got lost."
Deputies located the hikers on foot less than half an hour later, after hearing voices and seeing the beam of a flashlight.
"It was a heavily wooded area," Lt. Lunny said. "And the difficulty lies in the fact that you couldn't even see the hand in front of your face. But luckily, they were found."
The deputies marked their trail with yellow caution tape and were able to assist the hikers back safely, Lt. Lunny said.
Ms. Draeger said that one of the hikers was a Connecticut resident while the rest were from Dublin, Ireland.
"They were all here on a private retreat," she said. "They didn't seem too shaken up by the incident. They went out to a nice dinner after they got back."