An avid Pleasant Grove hiker may be spending his second night alone in the mountains Thursday.
According to close friends, Derrik Jenkins headed into American Fork Canyon at about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and parked at the Granite Flat Campground gate. Jenkins’ best friend, Jon Scott, said he believes Jenkins planned to head up from there and do a loop of the three Box Elder peaks. Jenkins was supposed to return about 9 p.m. Wednesday to video call two daughters, but didn’t make it home.
His mother, Kimberly Jenkins, who lives in the Logan area, said she knew something was wrong and called and texted his number until about 11 p.m. that night. She talked to Jenkins girlfriend Thursday morning. When Jenkins didn’t show up for work Thursday morning, his girlfriend called Scott.
“We dropped everything to try to find him. We put out info on social media to get help to locate his car,” said DeLacy Healey, Jenkins’ friend and Scott’s girlfriend.
The friends belong to multiple Facebook hiking groups, and they asked for help. Hikers located Jenkins’ car and contacted the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Dave Sorensen said Utah County Search and Rescue crews started searching the mountains at about 1 p.m.
Crews searched until after 8 p.m. Thursday. Weather conditions were not great, and the teams could not get air support in where they’d hoped, Sorensen said.
“We had airplane help, but it was very limited. We weren’t able to do anything we wanted to do,” he said. “We were hoping things would clear up and we’d get a plane and helicopter up, but we were very disappointed.”
Scott posted a video in the afternoon showing the snow he encountered while searching for his friend. He’d hit patches of knee-deep snow, and other patches of just a few inches.
“We’re at over 24 hours now that he’s been out,” Healey said Thursday evening of Jenkins. “Chances are getting really bad. We have to find him.”
Healey said Jenkins was wearing hiking spikes and is a knowledgeable hiker who regularly hikes these mountain ranges.
“He’s fast and capable. He’s one of the most competent mountain people I know,” she said.
Several hiking friends of Jenkins planned to continue the search for him throughout Thursday night. Search and rescue crews planned to start their search again first thing Friday morning. More information is available through the Finding Derrik Jenkins Facebook page.
Jenkins was wearing a neon green trail-running vest and black shoes with yellow trim. If anyone noticed anything in the area, Sorensen asked that they contact the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. The search and rescue number is (801) 794-3970.