Mom says fallen hiker was experienced outdoorsman - FOX Carolina 21

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Mom says fallen hiker was experienced outdoorsman

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Alice Jones holds a photo of her son Mark Jones. (Feb. 18, 2013/FOX Carolina) Alice Jones holds a photo of her son Mark Jones. (Feb. 18, 2013/FOX Carolina)
Mark Jones and his 5-year-old daughter fell from Wildcat Falls on Sunday. (Feb. 17, 2013/FOX Carolina) Mark Jones and his 5-year-old daughter fell from Wildcat Falls on Sunday. (Feb. 17, 2013/FOX Carolina)
HENDERSONVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

Loved ones of fallen hiker Mark Jones, 44, are grieving.

They said he will be greatly missed. Jones died Sunday after falling nearly 80 feet from a waterfall near Wildcat Wayside State Park. He was hiking with his five-year-old daughter, who is being treated for her injuries at Greenville Memorial Hospital.

FOX Carolina spoke with his mother, Alice Jones, who said it's hard to imagine what could have happened Sunday afternoon that turned the trip into such a tragedy. She wants people to know her son was a experienced hiker.

"Mark was a good Christian man. He was kind-hearted, a loving father, and he loved to hike," said Alice Jones. "He loved the outdoors. He's going to be missed. He was a very good all-around person. He was much too young."

SLIDESHOW: Crews rescue dad, daughter after fall

She said he was a marine in Operation Desert Storm and a skilled athlete.

"He's very experienced. He's been all over the mountains of Montana and Wyoming. It's hard for me to imagine what happened," she said.

Jones died of his injuries Sunday a few hours after he was transported by helicopter to Greenville Memorial Hospital. As of Monday night, his daughter was in good condition.

Authorities said this is one of many deaths that have happened near Wildcat Falls in northern Greenville County. They urge people to stay on the trail and pay attention to the caution signs put up by the state park service.

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