PROVO — A hiker from Sandy spent the night in American Fork Canyon after stumbling across some bears and getting caught in a rainstorm.

The 28-year-old man went for what was supposed to be a day hike Monday morning up Box Elder Trail, but when he hadn't returned by 4 a.m. Tuesday, his parents went looking for him, said Utah County sheriff's search and rescue director Sgt. Tom Hodgson.

Informing family of his hiking plans led to his rescue, Hodgson said.

"He told his parents where he was going so they had that information," Hodgson said. "They're the ones who contacted us."

Apparently the man had hiked up all the way to Box Elder Peak along Box Elder Trail, and as he was coming down, he ran into two black bears, common to that area.

The man told officers the bears spotted him and knew he was there but didn't try to approach him or accost him, Hodgson said.

The man got off the trail a bit to get around the bears, then spent the night under some trees while a storm passed overhead, wearing only long pants and a long-sleeve shirt.

"He huddled under the trees and waited for the sun to come back up," Hodgson said.

After the man's parents found their son's car at the trailhead, they called police, who got Utah County search and rescue involved just after 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, Hodgson said.

Soon after, the county sent a fixed-wing plane over the canyon looking for the man.

He was eventually spotted, and ground crews hiked up to meet him. He was able to hike off the mountain but had to be rehydrated, Hodgson said.

"He wasn't injured, he was a bit hypothermic ... extremely fatigued and very thirsty," Hodgson said.

The man had taken some power bars with him but no water or shelter.

"He just wasn't prepared to spend the night on the mountain," Hodgson said, reminding those who venture out in nature to take the necessary precautions, always tell someone where they're going and travel with others.


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