POLK COUNTY, Ark. (ABC News) — A 37-year-old Texas man has been lost on a remote and rugged Arkansas hiking trail for nearly one week, but his sister and local authorities are vowing to find him.
Joshua McClatchy was reported missing to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office on Saturday, launching an extensive search, the sheriff’s office said.
McClatchy had texted his mother that day to say he was lost, and he tried his best to describe his location to her, according to Dallas ABC affiliate WFAA.
McClatchy went missing on the mountainous Buckeye Trail, which is in the Caney Creek Wilderness Area east of Mena, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said. His car was found at the Buckeye trailhead, authorities said.
Lost hikers are common in that area, but they are usually found within a few hours, according to the sheriff.
In this undated photo, AGFC officers participate in the search for the lost hiker.more +
“We’re still very hopeful, we’ve not wavered in that,” McClatchy’s sister, Miranda Balduf, told ABC News on Thursday. “And the entire search and rescue team is very hopeful, also. They’re committed to rescuing him.”
Balduf said her brother is an experienced hiker who’s “been preparing quite a bit for this trip.” This is the first time he’s ever done a hike alone though, his mother, Jen McClatchy, told ABC News.
“This trip is kind of a practice trip to help him get ready for the next trip he had planned,” she said.
“Josh had not been on the trail before, but he did a lot of research prepping for it,” his mother said. “He looked at several different trails over the last month and was really excited. He chose this trail because it had a waterfall and he’s attracted to waterfalls and I feel he planned very well.”
Drones and bloodhounds are being used in the search, his sister said. The family is also trying to raise money to fund a helicopter with infrared technology, his mother said.
“Where Josh is, it is survivable,” Balduf wrote on Facebook on Thursday. “It isn’t that it isn’t dangerous, but the water is plentiful and clean. Even if he does not know it’s clean, he has a filter straw. There are berries as well. Yes, there has been a ton of rain, but there are rocky outcroppings everywhere that could serve as coverage. Temperatures have not gotten low enough that hypothermia is a concern.”
“We will do whatever it takes to find Mr. McClatchy and get him home to his family,” Polk County Sheriff Scott Sawyer said in a statement on Tuesday.
In addition to the filter straw. he was carrying fresh water and protein bars, his mother said.
McClatchy is a Texas Tech graduate who is working toward a master’s degree in social work, his sister said.
This hike was planned to coincide with his birthday on June 2.
“This is what he wanted to do,” Balduf said.
His mother, crying, told ABC News, “He’s going to be found, and it’s going to be really soon. And he’s going to be alive.”