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Ripon family OK after a night in pickup stuck in Tuolumne snow

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team member Jim Scruggs stands beside Ripon resident Bradley Swanson’s pickup Sunday. In back are Swanson’s sons, 10-year-old Alexander and 7-year-old Nathaniel.
Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team member Jim Scruggs stands beside Ripon resident Bradley Swanson’s pickup Sunday. In back are Swanson’s sons, 10-year-old Alexander and 7-year-old Nathaniel.

A Ripon dad and two sons are warm and well after spending a weekend night in a pickup stuck in snow, the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office reports.

Bradley Swanson and sons Alexander, 10, and Nathaniel, 7, left Ripon on Saturday morning to scope out a campsite at Cherry Lake, about 25 miles east of Sonora. Cherry Lake is at an elevation of 4,700 feet.

They were due home about 7 p.m. Early Sunday, just after midnight, Swanson’s wife called authorities to report her husband and sons had not returned, the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post.

Deputies and the Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue Team combed the area of Cherry Lake but were unable to find the Swansons. About 8 a.m. Sunday, Swanson arrived at a ranger station to which he had hiked. He called the Sheriff’s Office to say his pickup truck had become stuck on Forest Road 1N86 near Cherry Lake and his boys were still inside.

He was back at his truck when rescuers arrived, freed it and followed Swanson to the Groveland side of Cherry Lake to ensure they were safe. The Swansons, who’d taken enough food only for the day trip, were uninjured and healthy, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

“We recommend that anytime you plan to recreate in the outdoors, research the terrain and weather forecast for the area you are traveling through,” the Sheriff’s Office said in its Facebook post. “Storms in the high country can be unpredictable, and the weekend forecast included rain and snow in higher elevations. When you have to travel in inclement weather, remember to bring extra food, water, clothing and blankets in case of emergencies.”

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