SALT LAKE CITY — A Texas man whose body was found in Arches National Park in Utah is believed to have died of heatstroke while on a trip to spread his father’s ashes, according to his sister.
James Bernard Hendricks, 66 of Austin, was hiking in the park and likely became disoriented from a combination of heat, dehydration and high altitude, according to sister Ruth Hendricks Bough.
Hendricks had stopped in Utah while journeying across the West to the Sierra Nevada region of Nevada and California to spread his father’s ashes, he said in social media posts prior to his death.
Rangers found his vehicle at a trailhead parking lot after Hendricks was reported overdue the morning of Aug 1, according to park officials. Hendrick’s body was found nearby off-trail and his water bottle was empty, Bough said in a social media post.
“He was loved by countless people because he was an unusually kind, sweet person who made friends easily. Now all these people are grieving. It was a horrible shock,” the sister told the San Antonio Express-News.
The National Park Service and Grand County Sheriff’s Office are investigating the death.
Arches National Park, located in a high-elevation desert north of Moab, Utah, is known for its natural sandstone arches.
Temperatures topped 90 degrees Fahrenheit in the area on the afternoon before Hendricks was reported missing.