Woman missing from Carmel Valley Zen center for 3 days

(KRON) — A 30-year-old woman has been missing for three days after she left a Carmel Valley Zen center to go hiking. Caroline Meister left Tassajara Zen Mountain Center at 10 a.m. Monday to go a short day hike, the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office said.

The Zen center is nestled within Ventana Wilderness about 10 miles south-east of Big Sur, at 39171 Tassajara Road in Carmel Valley.

“She stated she was going to hike a trail that loops back around to the Zen Center. There was also mention of hiking the Windcave Trail. She was only carrying snacks for the day and was not dressed or equipped for an overnight stay,” the Sheriff’s Office wrote.

The woman never returned, and she was reported missing to MCSO just before 11:30 p.m. Monday. Meister is described as white, weighs 150 pounds, and has long brown wavy hair. She was last seen wearing teal boots and carrying a blue bag.

Caroline Meister
Caroline Meister (Image courtesy Monterey County Sheriff’s Office)

The Monterey County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team and a California Highway Patrol helicopter launched a search effort, but as of Wednesday, the hiker remained missing.

Deputies are asking for help from other hikers in the area. “Persons who may have been hiking in the Tassajara Zen Mountain Center Area on 3/18/24 who may have seen Caroline Meister … please contact our office at 831-755-5111 with information that could help us in locating her.”

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Anyone who is hiking in the area this week is urged to be on the lookout for the missing woman.

Tassajara Zen Mountain Center is one of three Soto Zen practice communities that comprise San Francisco Zen Center. Tassajara, also referred to by its monastery name of “Zenshinji,” is dedicated to San Francisco Zen Center’s mission “to embody, express, and make accessible the wisdom and compassion of the Buddha,” the center’s website states.

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