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Missing hiker found dead in Kings Canyon park was first-year teacher

Body found in Kings Canyon National Park is identified as that of missing hiker, first-year teacher

A body discovered in steep, rocky terrain in the Kings Canyon National Park area is that of a man who had been reported missing earlier this week after failing to come back from a weeklong hiking trip, authorities said.

The body of 46-year-old Gregory Muck was discovered Wednesday afternoon, northwest of Mount Gardiner in the park, according to Dana Dierkes, a spokeswoman for the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Muck, who graduated from UC Santa Cruz a year ago, had completed his first year as a teacher at Fremont's Gomes Elementary School, the Mercury News reported.  

His body was identified by the Fresno County coroner's office. 

Muck appears to have fallen in steep terrain, Dierkes said, adding that the accident remains under investigation.

Search-and-rescue workers had been looking for Muck after his wife reported him missing Aug. 18 when he failed to return from the hiking trip.

Dierkes said a copy of Muck's backpacking itinerary helped narrow the search to a 4-mile-by-5-mile area. The park, she said, is 865,000 square miles.

According to the itinerary, Muck departed alone from the Road Ends area of the national park on Aug. 10.

He then planned to hike to Gardiner Basin via Gardiner Pass, and after several days in the basin, he planned to hike out of Gardiner Creek to Woods Creek and return to Roads End in Cedar Grove by Aug. 17.

When he failed to return, his wife reported him missing. 

A Facebook account titled "Finding Greg Muck-The Great Adventurer" was created to provide photos of the missing hiker, news and updates of the search efforts. 

"Thank you so much for your thoughts, prayers, and support," a message read hours after his body had been discovered. "Sadly, Greg died doing what he loved. We will miss him dearly," 

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