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Boy found safe after spending night in the Uintas

By Nicole Gonzales | Posted - Jun. 21, 2009 at 10:04 p.m.



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DAGGETT COUNTY -- It turned out to be a good Father's Day for one family in Daggett County. A 9-year-old boy lost his way in the mountains Saturday but was found safe Sunday morning.

Grayson Wynne never expected to get lost on this weekend fishing trip, but somehow he did.

"It was the scariest thing that ever happened," Grayson said. "Later I found out that I took the wrong trail."

He and 14 other family members arrived at Spirit Lake on Thursday and planned to hike 4 miles to Daggett Lake, set up camp and fish. Late Saturday afternoon Grayson went missing.

"We didn't realize he was gone ‘til we got back to the vehicle and did a head count. When we did the headcount, it was panic. I just turned around and sprinted up the trail," said Kynan Wynne, Grayson's father.

Grayson's mother, Kimberly, stayed home this trip and heard the news from her sister-in-law. "It was my biggest fear, really. I mean, I worried and I prayed and hoped for the best," she said.

The search started as night fell. It was dark, cold, rainy and windy.

"I found a dead log laying on the ground, and I kind of just huddled under it," Grayson said. "I used my rain poncho as a sheet. That kind of worked for a little bit, until it got really windy and couldn't stay on."

Daggett County and Uintah County search and rescue teams searched throughout the night. When morning came, searchers located a granola bar wrapper left by Grayson.

"I didn't really mean to drop the wrappers, but it was kind of lucky that I did," Grayson said.

Searchers then found a footprint and Grayson's backpack. The location of the items led them to believe he was following the river.

The Utah Department of Public Safety's helicopter also joined the search Sunday morning. Grayson later told rescuers he heard the helicopter and left the river, heading for an open meadow where he believed the helicopter could see him better.

Before the helicopter could spot him, however, two ranchers on horseback found him in the meadow waiving the last piece of his yellow rain slicker, which he had been tearing up and leaving for searchers to trace his steps.

Shortly after that, Grayson was reunited with his parents. "My mom came running to me and hugged me," he said.

"[There were] tears, lots of tears, and just happiness," Kimberly said.

"It's the best Father's Day that I never want to have again," Kynan said.

The Daggett County Sheriff's Office credits Grayson's safe rescue to his "being such a strong little boy with a lot of common sense." Grayson says the reality TV show "Man vs. Wild" on the Discovery Channel was his inspiration.

For his part, Grayson says he's going to hold off on going camping any time soon.

E-mail: ngonzales@ksl.com

Nicole Gonzales

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