ASU student lost overnight in Superstition Mountains found

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

GOLD CANYON, Ariz. -- A missing Arizona State University student who got lost in the Superstition Mountains overnight is safe – found Sunday evening.

Pinal County Sheriff’s Office deputies said Michael Kmit’s roommates called Tempe Police Sunday morning after Kmit, 21, went hiking alone Saturday and didn’t come home that night.

PCSO and Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office deputies began searching trail heads in the Superstition Mountains and found Kmit’s vehicle at the Peralta Trailhead east of Gold Canyon. 

At about 6:30 p.m. Sunday, MCSO deputies searching from north to south found Kmit hiking toward the First Water Trailhead, about 18 miles from where he started. 

Kmit told deputies that he had planned on a five-hour hike but got lost when he left the trail to take pictures of Weaver’s Needle. With dark setting in, Kmit found a running water source and followed it until setting up a camp.  He had only a flannel shirt to keep warm, according to PCSO Deputy Jeff Love.

While he did not have camping gear with him, Kmit was carrying a lighter so he was able to building a small campfire.

Deputies said when morning came Kmit started hiking again and was close to walking out at the First Water Trailhead – about 18 miles from the Peralta Trailhead – when MCSO deputies met up with him during the search. 

Although Kmit admitted to deputies that he didn’t have the right supplies for spending the night in the desert mountains, Love characterized him as being fairly well prepared for a 21-year-old college student.

A helicopter flew Kmit back to the Peralta Trailhead where he was able to leave with friends who had come to help search for him.  He suffered only minor dehydration.

Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the Superstition Mountains are east of Phoenix. Portions of the range are located in Maricopa, Pinal and Gila counties.