A hiker was rescued Friday from the vicinity of the John Day Dam in Zion National Park after spending nearly two weeks lost in the park, officials said.
The body of Christopher J. Gibson was found at approximately 5:30 p.m. in ankle-deep mud near the John Day Dam near Muddy Basin. Fire crews from Sun Valley and The Dalles river fire agencies, Utah Highway Patrol, The Dalles, Salt Lake City River Rescue, Green River River Rescue, Green River, Hoopa Valley and Winnemucca fire departments and personnel from Emery County Sheriff’s Office and Park City Search and Rescue were engaged in the rescue.
Gibson, 48, disappeared Oct. 2 during a hike from Springer Meadow to the Tierney Glacier/Muddy Basin area. Starting from a parking lot on Lower Penny Lane, he began his ascent and floated on the Salmon River with a camping stove and camping gear. At approximately mile 9.1, he stopped and crossed the river to begin another climb to the John Day Dam. He was unable to continue the ascent because of high water levels, and walked back to the parking lot.
Five days later, a forest ranger found footprints within the John Day Dam area, but without identifying details. The forest ranger decided to hike down the creek trail, and found the tracks matched those made by Gibson.
Officials said there were several physical indicators of the presence of human remains on the ankle-deep mud.
The case remains under investigation. The death is being treated as accidental.
For hiking descriptions, check out the Zion National Park website.