APACHE JUNCTION, AZ - A heartbreaking day for a Valley wife and volunteers who were holding out even a sliver of hope of finding a missing hiker alive.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office confirmed a K-9 search team found 56-year-old Kenny Clark, of Gilbert, deceased early Friday morning.
Clark, described as an experienced hiker, disappeared Sunday while hiking in the Superstition Mountains.
Clark's body was discovered in the Garden Valley area, about a mile from the First Water Trailhead, where family members first located his abandoned vehicle around 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Scorching heat and scarce water is why many feel Clark never made it off the trail.
"This time of year you've got to be crazy to go out there by yourself," said Rick Gwynne.
He and his sons were part of the volunteer search party for Clark.
"It's just really really a difficult area. if you don't know what your doing you should come out here and if you do just pleas'e bring a bunch of water you know," Gwynne said.
Clark's family said he set out Sunday to go hiking for just a couple of hours and only took along one gallon of water.
"Another hiker saw him disoriented right down here at the bottom, sweating profusely, but didn't watch him," said volunteer searcher Justin Agudio. "He didn't follow him out and they don't know which way he went."
Volunteers, including Gwynne and Aguido, spent days desperately searching for Clark in hopes of finding him alive.
"You can't see the parking lot, you can't hear cars, you can't hear people talking and you're aleady lost and you're only a quarter mile in," Aguido explained.
Clark's wife, Heather, has endured this same pain before. She lost her first husband back in 1985 when he went hiking and froze to death after getting lost in a snow storm.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has yet to release the exact cause of Clark's death. An autopsy is pending.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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