Jason Knight, 35, of Payson, Utah, and his sons, aged 8 and 11, were lost for three days. They were rescued from Sandthrax Canyon on Saturday after being reported missing a day earlier.
Knight told NBC's "Today" show Monday that he got separated from the boys when he decided to hike down to the bottom of the canyon to look for a way out. Instead, he got stuck. He said they strayed into Sandthrax Canyon, mistaking it for nearby Leprechaun Canyon.
“The entrances are, literally, less than a thousand feet apart, and we got down the wrong canyon,” Knight said.
That was on Wednesday, during what was supposed to be a five-hour hike. They camped where they were overnight and on Thursday Knight decided to head down.
The boys were on their own for two days. Knight said they carefully portioned out a granola bar and their water. He said he had also taught them that they should wait for rescue where they were if they got lost.
“You have to have a plan, and you have to stick to that plan,” Knight said. “You have to teach your kids what to do in an emergency like that.”
On Saturday morning, Knight said, he heard the "definitely good sound" of a helicopter overhead. The rescue crew found his sons and then went looking for him.
“I was really far down into the canyon, so I actually had to climb up 50 feet and signal them, and it took four or five times for them to see me down at the bottom,” Knight said.
Wayne County spokeswoman Kassidee Brown said the rescue was speeded up by a woman who called Friday night and reported seeing the Knights heading into Sandthrax Canyon on Wednesday. She said she had looked for them at their campsite, but they never returned.
Brown said Knight was located about 30 minutes after the boys. She said the boys were dehydrated and cramped but appeared to have received no longterm damage, while the father looked "fine."