Daily Distraction: Read 'Rolling Stone' on the tragic end of Hunter Lewis

The 21-year-old disappeared in the final stages of plotting an epic three-day treasure hunt

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Hunter Lewis on the homepage of "Rolling Stone"

In December 2021, Hunter Lewis, a 21-year-old junior at California State University Long Beach, disappeared after sailing his canoe into California's Trinidad Bay. A couple of weeks later, authorities called off the search, with Lewis presumed dead.

“Thank you all for helping us in the search to recover Hunter’s body,” Hunter's father, Corey Lewis wrote on Facebook in early January. “It is with a heavy heart that I tell you now that we are calling off these active searches at this time. His body may still wash up on the beach along with his other treasure items one day.”

At the time of his disappearance, Lewis had been finalizing a three-day treasure hunt for friends and family members, and a heartbreaking new feature inRolling Stone captures scenes from the two-plus years Lewis spent planning the epic quest, which is portrayed as a culmination of a remarkable life driven by exploration.

Stephen Rodrick writes:

Corey started reading The Hobbit to Hunter when he was five, his baby brother, Bodie, sleeping nearby in his crib. Corey’s firstborn was always trying to escape the Lewis backyard, with his mom and dad screaming “Hunter!” Eventually, Hunter met a neighbor who remarked, “So this is the Hunter I’ve been hearing about so much.”

In elementary school, Hunter became obsessed with the treasure-seeking boys in The Goonies. He would have fit in well with those fictional lost boys — he already had a reputation at school as a curious kid with a loud laugh that could erupt at any time.

When the boys got a little older, Corey took them to Humboldt State and started teaching them parkour, an athletic endeavor in which you jump from roof to roof or rock to rock, theoretically minimizing the risk by looking before you leap, contemplating all the potential outcomes.

Read the entire feature here.