A man whose body was found in Utah’s Arches National Park had been on a trip to spread his father’s ashes in the Sierra Nevada near Reno, family members said Tuesday.

James “Jimmy” Bernard Hendricks on March 2022, in Austin, Texas. (Ruth Hendricks Brough via AP) 

James Bernard “Jimmy” Hendricks, 66, of Austin, Texas, had been hiking in the park and likely became disoriented from a combination of heat, dehydration and high altitude, sisters Ila Hendricks and Ruth Hendricks Brough said.

After he was reported overdue from a hike on Aug. 1, rangers at Arches found his vehicle at a trailhead parking lot. The same day, his body was found on the Sand Dune Arch Trail about 2½ miles from the trailhead.

His sisters believe he went on a long hike on the morning of July 29 — the last day he was seen alive — then died during a second hike that day. Temperatures in the area topped 100 degrees on July 29.

Brough said Hendricks was an experienced hiker, but his water bottle was empty. She also learned that he had been taking medication that can lead to dehydration.

“It was just a horrible crushing blow to everybody,” she said. “He was the quintessential nature boy who went everywhere and did everything. He was so strong.”

The National Park Service and Grand County Sheriff’s Office were investigating the death. An official cause of death has not been determined, but heat and altitude are considered “relevant factors,” said Lt. Al Cymbaluk with the sheriff’s department.

The sisters said Hendricks was traveling from Austin to the Reno area, where he planned to scatter the ashes on a favorite peak of their father’s.

The father, Neil Hendricks, lived in Reno from 1970 to 2010. He then moved back to Austin, where he spent his last years living with his son Jimmy and died in 2018 at age 95.

Another sibling — brother Ron Hendricks — went missing in 1992 in the mountains near Lake Tahoe. He was 39 then, and had been living in San Francisco. He was last seen snowshoeing toward Spooner Lake, off Highway 50 near the lake’s east shore.

The family was notified this year that remains discovered by mountain bikers on the Flume Trail in 2020 had been identified as Ron’s. Jimmy Hendricks had been organizing a memorial service for him, Brough said.