KINGS CANYON (CBS SF) — A Fremont elementary school teacher and Santa Cruz resident missing in Kings Canyon National Park after a solo backpacking trip over the weekend has been found dead, the National Park Service said Wednesday night.

Search and rescue crews found a body in the 12,000 foot elevation northwest of Mount Gardiner in the area where 46-year-old Gregory Muck had been hiking.

In a written statement, the National Park Service said Muck appeared to have fallen in rocky and steep terrain. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

The park service said Muck’s body has been recovered from the mountainous area and transferred to the Fresno County Coroner’s Office.

His intended route was to travel from Roads End in Cedar Grove to Gardiner Basin via Gardiner Pass, and after several days, out Gardiner Creek to Woods Creek to Roads End in Cedar Grove. He went out on August 10 and was scheduled to return on the 17th.

Muck was scheduled to start work teaching third grade at Gomes Elementary School.

“I couldn’t believe it because I knew he liked the wilderness,” said Rudy Castillo, the day custodian at Gomes.

Castillo said Muck was well liked by students. “He’s a great guy and great with children and he seemed like a good father with his own daughter.”

Muck’s wife, Shannon, told the Santa Cruz Sentinel her husband used to go out for two-week backpacking trips, but switched to one-week trips because he didn’t want to be away from his 5-year-old.

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