PASS LAKE, Summit County — Heidi Bardsley and her husband were sure searchers would find their youngest son on Wednesday.
Garrett's older brother, Cameron, even dreamed that Garrett would be found alive under a kind of ledge or outcropping.
Their hopes and dreams were not realized Wednesday, despite the efforts of hundreds of volunteers from the family's LDS home stake and ward coupled with professional search and rescue teams from around the state.
The only clue to the whereabouts of 12-year-old Garrett, who has been missing since Friday morning, was a sock found Wednesday that Heidi Bardsley identified as belonging to the boy.
Garrett went missing Friday about 8 a.m. after he drenched his shoes in the Cuberant Lake, where he was fishing with his father. He was last seen as he headed back to camp alone to get dry shoes. Garrett and his father were at the High Uintas site as part of a planned three-day Scouting activity with the troop sponsored by their Salem LDS ward.
"He's young and this is the first time he's been here, and it's easy to get disoriented," said Kevin Bardsley. "Even I got disoriented when I went back to find him."
Kevin Bardsley believes his son panicked and began to run in search of help.
"I talked to a bunch of 12-year-olds last night," he said, "and they all said that's what they would do in the same situation, run and find help. I think that's what he did — ran and prayed."
Heidi Bardsley said Garrett recently received his Wilderness Survival merit badge, so he knows a little about staying alive in the outdoors, but noted Garrett was not dressed or prepared for an extensive stint in the rugged country in which he is lost.
Summit County Sheriff Dave Edmunds said a white cropped Nike sock found Wednesday was about a mile away from the Scout campsite in a boulder field, an area that Garrett may have headed for after becoming disoriented.
"It's officially a recovery mission. I think there's very little chance he's survived," Edmunds said. "But today's a new day and the weather is the best it's been."
Kevin Bardsley said he and his family are still hoping for a miracle despite the fact that temperatures dropped to 18 degrees Tuesday night and Garrett had no food or warm clothing with him.
"We feel very, very strongly about today. We've felt the spirit in certain areas and felt Garrett's presence," Kevin Bardsley said. "Yeah, I'm hoping there could be a miracle, but we know we might have to accept Heavenly Father's will."
Neighbors and friends who have gathered to help say they admire the family's strength.
Mont Davis said he is "kind of a next-door neighbor" to the Bardsleys.
"It's bad. This is bad. I got up this morning and looked at Kevin sitting by the fire and his face was just blank. I lost a boy at 16 and I know how it feels," Davis said. "You don't even feel the shock for a while. You're just numb."
Others, including strangers who were saddling their horses and mules and getting their dogs ready for a sixth day of searching in the rocky, heavily wooded mountain terrain, said they came to help because they identify with the fear and loss the family is feeling.
"We've just got to help," said Boyd Harden of Mapleton. "If it was one of my boys, I'd want people to help."
Graham Hawkins from MyFamily.Com assembled tables full of snacks for the searchers, provided by the company after one of the managers realized he is related to the family.
Several Provo restaurants and fast-food stores also sent hot meals for the volunteers on Tuesday and Wednesday.
"The big story is, of course, Garrett," Hawkins said, "but the other story is about the people who have come here to help, just out of love."
Heidi Bardsley expressed amazement at the outpouring.
"All the help, it's amazing," she said. "That's what is getting me through this, that and, of course, our faith."
Heidi Bardsley said Garrett is a typical boy who likes to ride dirt bikes and draw. He is not very adventurous as a rule, she said.
"I think he panicked and ran the wrong way," she said.
"Don't leave anything unturned," urged Kevin Bardsley as searchers trooped off into the woods.