It was summer of 2006, and 70-year-old Rosemary Kunst was looking forward to a week-long hiking retreat in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Rosemary was an experienced hiker, and it was something that she and her late husband Bud used to enjoy together. It had been less than two years since the car crash on Highway 70 had taken his life, leaving Rosemary with extensive injuries.
The retreat was being put on by the Earth Circle Association. The group, run by a native American chief, visit the remote area of Spirit Lake in California every year and carry out spiritual ceremonies. The group's campsite was about 12 miles from the nearest road and 20 miles from the city of Etna.
After declining an invitation to hike with the group on August 18, Rosemary set off on her own for a short walk. She asked the group leader’s 12-year-old son to join her, but he opted to stay back at camp with the group’s cook. It is believed that Rosemary had a sandwich, trail mix and possible a bottle of water on her when she left.
When she did not return to the campsite that evening a search and rescue operation was launched, involving 50 people, sniffer dogs, horseback searchers and an infrared helicopter. Divers also scoured the lake for any sign of Rosemary, but she was nowhere to be found.
Rosemary's family also launched their own search along with a professional hiking guide in order to look for their missing relative. They felt certain that if Rosemary wasn't injured she would know exactly what to do to get herself found, with her daughter-in-law describing her as 'physically fit as can be'. But the area Rosemary was lost in was heavily wooded, covered with thick foliage and dotted with numerous steep gullies. Though they were concerned Rosemary might have succumbed to an attack from a mountain lion or bear, no blood or tracks were ever found.
The only evidence lay about 1 mile south of the water, where a tuft of Rosemary's hair was discovered. Nevertheless, Grizz Adams, the coordinator of the search effort stated that there were no signs of any foul play. After a week, Adams stated that they had looked everywhere they could possibly look, and the search was called off, citing a lack of clues.
To this day, the disappearance baffles local police, as the direction Rosemary had walked was virtually impossible off trail, and the only other exit was back through her camp.