North Idaho

Recreation specialist dies in hiking accident

CHALLIS, Idaho - A man who touched the lives of countless children and outdoor enthusiasts in Coeur d'Alene died in a hiking accident Saturday.

Michael Darcy, 55, was hiking alone on Gooseberry Peak, just south of Challis, Idaho, when he fell down an embankment.

Darcy was a recreation specialist for the City of Coeur d'Alene. Kids knew him as the man who ran the micro-soccer and flag football program. His friends and family knew him as an experienced hiker who is always prepared.

Recreation specialist dies in hiking accident

His sister, Sue Huetter, said he typically hiked alone but would map out the area he was going to visit. She said he would also figure out how long it would take and always notified her.

"He always left a note in his car. He said, 'I am at this trail head, my name is and in case of emergency call Sue,'" said Huetter.

Rescue crews said Darcy had his GPS and phone with him as he was hiking. They said he was about 300 feet away from the summit when he fell 100 feet.

Search teams said Darcy called for help but the U.S Forest Service helicopter was being used to battle a wildfire Saturday evening, which meant crews had to hike several hours instead to reach him. But when they finally found Darcy, he had already died.

A helicopter recovery crew came to get Darcy's body on Sunday.

Huetter said she remembers him as a quiet man who had a passion for the outdoors.

"He led a peaceful, calming minimal lifestyle that we can all take a lesson from," said Huetter.

Darcy was not married but was very close to his niece and nephew. He even named two peaks he discovered after them.