ROOSEVELT Before his parents ever knew he was lost, Trenton Taylor had been found.
The 14-year-old Roosevelt boy went missing after running ahead of his Boy Scout group around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. It took about 24 hours for police to be notified, however, because of limited communication in the High Uinta Mountains.
The boy was reunited with his family in Roosevelt early Thursday morning. Without phones or radios, there was no way to know Taylor had been found safe almost six hours before he was reported missing, after spending just one night alone, Duchesne County Sheriff Travis Mitchell said.
"I'm tired and cold and hungry," Taylor told the Deseret News on Thursday, surrounded by family.
He had eaten only Cheetos since getting lost, he said. The orange dust was still on his upper lip.
Taylor said he ran ahead of his group and was trying to catch up with a leader who was bringing in camping equipment on horseback when he got lost Tuesday evening.
"I mixed up their tracks with deer tracks," he said.
He walked for more than an hour Tuesday before laying his sleeping bag by the trail and camping out for the night. The next morning, he hiked alone for about six hours in what his father called "rough country," along trails that cut through canyons and above the timberline.
But as isolated as the area may seem, it is popular with campers, Mitchell said.
"If they stay on the trail, they'll pretty much run into someone," he said. "It's when they get off the trail and get scared that they get in trouble."
Sometimes, however, the trail seemed to disappear. At one point, Taylor said he came across a large meadow without any clear path.
"It was beautiful," he said, "but it was hard to find the trail."
Taylor continued to hike toward King's Peak, hoping to find his group.
"Just keeping going," he said. "Maybe your camp will be there."
By the time he arrived safely in Roosevelt, the boy had hiked between 30-40 miles, Mitchell said.
All the while, Taylor drank water from a stream and ate the Cheetos he had in his backpack.
Around noon Wednesday, a group of Boy Scouts from Ogden came across the missing boy in the Painter Basin area, Mitchell said. The Ogden leaders had been alerted of Taylor's disappearance and made contact with the boy's Scout leaders.
In Duchesne, sheriff's officials said they were notified too late Wednesday to orchestrate a proper search and rescue effort. They planned to begin searching for the boy the next morning at 6.
But during the night, Taylor and one of his Scout leaders, Gerald Cook, rode a horse down the Uintah Canyon trail, arriving at the trailhead about an hour before the search effort was to begin.
"It was just a major relief," a teary eyed Robin Taylor, the boy's mother, said.
The family planned to take the boy to a doctor Thursday morning, but police said they believed he would be fine.
Trenton Taylor, however, said he was mostly worried that his father might be angry.
"I thought he was going to be mad at me," he said. "I did the exact opposite of what he said I should do."
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