A New Jersey hiker found dead several weeks after he was reported missing in the New Hampshire wilderness had been battling cancer and told friends he was feeling well enough to spend time in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
The body of Gregory Auriemma, 63, of Brick, New Jersey, was found Thursday night by Appalachian Mountain Club work crews in the Dry River Wilderness, about 70 miles north of Concord. Auriemma was reported missing earlier this month. He was last seen in Conway on June 24. He had been expected home July 5.
Searchers determined he stayed at a hut in Bean's Grant on or about June 28. Auriemma was linked to an abandoned campsite in Cutts Grant on Saturday. It is unclear how he died.
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New Jersey Sierra Club head Jeff Tittel said Auriemma had told fellow members he "was feeling much better" after becoming sick with cancer and wanted to spend some time hiking and camping in one of his favorite spots. He had taken his medicines with him on the hike.
"He wanted to take this hike as a kind of celebration," Tittel told the Associated Press. "He didn't know how many more times he would be able to go up into the wilderness, take these kinds of hikes and go camping."
Tittel said Auriemma was a champion of the environment and a longtime Sierra Club member and volunteer. As chair of the Ocean County group he worked tirelessly on ocean issues, while building it into one of the strongest in the state.
"Greg's legacy is that when you drive around Ocean County, you see preserved land, open spaces and parks. When you see pristine streams and a beautiful ocean, that's part of his legacy too," Tittel said. "Protecting the environment was truly what Greg was all about."