The body of the man who went missing in Yosemite National Park prior to the Fourth of July holiday has been found.
Hayden T. Klemenok, a resident of Petaluma, California, disappeared on July 2 while backpacking with a group near Upper Chilnualna Falls. According to the National Park Service, the 24-year-old went missing shortly after entering the fast-moving Chilnualna Creek near the trail junction. This section of the creek is located approximately twelve miles south of Yosemite Valley.
Klemenok’s body was discovered on Sunday and subsequently recovered on Monday. Yosemite National Park spokesperson Scott Gediman informed The Associated Press that the cause of the San Diego State University graduate’s death is currently under investigation.
In a Facebook statement, Klemenok’s sister, Taylor McKinnie, indicated that his cause of death is presumed to be an accidental drowning. She further mentioned that although the family was notified of his location on Sunday, it took an additional 24 hours to formally recover his body due to the challenging terrain.
“We will never stop loving our Hayden, and today, are finally able to say we are all leaving Yosemite ‘together,'” McKinnie wrote.
Their mother, Michelle Klemenok, expressed her grief on Facebook, writing, “My beautiful son, you were a light in so many lives. I will miss you and love you forever.”
Klemenok’s parents shared with The San Francisco Chronicle that his friends reported that it was a hot day when the accident occurred, and Hayden had bent down on all fours to wet his face. Tragically, his hands slipped, causing him to fall into the water.
“It’s the worst experience any parent or family should go through,” Michelle Klemenok told the newspaper.
Authorities have issued warnings about the extreme hazards posed by rivers, streams, and lakes this year due to significant runoff from the winter snowpack. The water is reportedly so cold that muscle control can be lost within minutes