Kyle Brittain has been hiking since age 3; at just 8 years old, he hiked Yosemite's challenging Half Dome. So, NBC News reports, the "relatively easy" hike on Hawaii's Big Island that the 27-year-old set out on Aug. 30 shouldn't have been a challenge for him. But Brittain has not been seen since, and his family is desperately searching for him. "He called me and said, 'I want to go up the Z Trail by myself,' and I said, 'I don't know if I like that idea,'" Brittain's father, Steve Brittain, tells NBC. Even so, the elder Brittain figured the area would be crowded with others out for Labor Day weekend, and his son wasn't planning to hike all 12 miles of the trail, so he thought all would be well. Kyle Brittain was on the final day of a visit to his father when he set out on Muliwai Trail, which is also called Z Trail due to its switchbacks.
The trail connects Waipio Valley to Waimanu Valley, Hawaii News Now reports. After Brittain failed to return from his hike, first responders found his vehicle at the Waipio Valley lookout the same day, but there have been no clues as to his whereabouts since then. Police issued a missing person alert the following day, and both professional rescuers and volunteers are involved in the search. Brittain had water, power bars, and his cellphone with him, but he did not have enough supplies for a week in the wilderness, his father says. "Trying to sleep, knowing that he's out there, is killing me," he says. "Kyle is an experienced hiker. He is a happy kid and the whole family, his mom, myself, Sean his brother, Cade his brother, Lily my wife, we’re dying because we know he’s out there." Facebook and GoFundMe pages have been set up for the search. (Assisting in the search: the team that found Amanda Eller.)