Three trapped overnight in the Superstitions plan to make a return trip

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jan 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-24 00:33:40-05

Stranded in the Superstitions overnight, nearly blinded by the dense fog and forced to huddle together just to stay warm -- three Valley men lucky to be at home tonight opened up to ABC15 for the very first time about what it was like to spend a night alone on a mountain, not sure what would happen.

"We had no idea what we were going to be in for."

The Superstitions are tough for even the most experienced hikers. But factor in some bad weather and the trails can become close to impossible.

"The fog set in so dense that literally, we couldn't see five feet in front of us," explained Jonathon Trethewey, one of three hikers who had to be rescued one week ago.

That fog was so thick the trio couldn't see any trail signs. Five miles into their hike a week ago Sunday, these friends realized they were lost. At one point, they were walking along cliffs thousands of feet up and didn't even realize it.

"You didn't know you were on them until you were on them!"

As the sun set, the darkness outside became a tough opponent. But it couldn't compare to the darkness that was growing inside their own minds.

"We didn't know if we were going to make it through the evening."

But doubt always gave way to hope. Overnight, the friends constructed a shelter out of sticks and vegetation, even huddling together to stay warm until rescuers found them the next morning.

"There was no way we would have survived this if we couldn't keep our body heat as close as possible."

Searchers from the Pinal County Sheriff's Office were able to find and locate the group the following day. Thankfully, there were no major injuries.

And don't think they're crazy, but the men are headed back up the mountain this weekend. Their hope is to produce a video which will serve as a survival guide for anyone who may have to tough it out against Mother Nature.

"We want to take people into what was going on, how we got lost, and then use that as a tool to help other people."

The men are also taking survival classes right now.

So what was the first thing they did after surviving such an ordeal? They were hungry -- and spent about $55 at Carls' Jr.