Hiker missing in Superstition Mountains; search under way

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
Maricopa County and Yavapai County sheriffs' deputies are searching for a missing hiker in the Superstition Mountains. Kenny Clark was reported missing Sunday, but it's not known how long he's been gone. By Mike Gertzman Maricopa County and Yavapai County sheriffs' deputies are searching for a missing hiker in the Superstition Mountains. Kenny Clark was reported missing Sunday, but it's not known how long he's been gone. By Mike Gertzman

APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. -- Crews are searching for a missing hiker in the Superstition Mountains east of the Valley. Kenny Clark, 56, from Gilbert was reported missing at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, but it's not known how long he's been gone.

According to Officer Chris Hegstrom with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Clark's car was located near First Water Trailhead. Aerial video showed that car surrounded by police tape. A pass is required to park there.

Hegstrom said Clark is reportedly an avid hiker, in good condition, and has no known medical history. He has long blond hair and weighs about 200 pounds.

No other information about the man was immediately available, but Hegstrom said he knows the area fairly well and had water with him when he started out.

But there's fear Clark's water would be gone by now, leaving the dozens of searchers from the Maricopa and Pinal County sheriff's offices a small window of opportunity to find him.

"It's not easy to survive in this. Temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees so of course it is a urgency for us to try to locate him," said Hegstrom.

Search and rescue teams are scouring the area, both on the ground with tracking dogs and from the air with helicopters.

Reporting from the News Chopper on Monday morning, Tammy Rose said a search helicopter was on the ground in the Weaver's Needle area. Weaver's Needle is a rock column that's 1,000 feet tall and visible for miles around.

The First Water Trail is just over seven miles round-trip and is considered a difficult hike. The terrain there is rugged.

First Water Trail is located just north of Apache Junction and is one of the easiest access points to the Superstition Wilderness Area, which is part of the Tonto National Forest.

The Superstition Mountains are about 50 minutes east of Phoenix near Apache Junction.