Lance Dawson knows he made the wrong decision.

When he took the bus up to Lynn Headwaters Saturday morning to begin an eight hour hike on the Hanes Valley trail, he didn’t bring a flashlight or any extra food with him.

“I didn’t expect to be overnight so I just brought water, a protein bar, an extra layer of clothing, that was it,” Dawson said.

Of course, when a large cloud covered the mountain and he lost sight of the trail, staying out overnight became a necessity.

“I just went the wrong way and the next thing I knew I was too far away to get back by night time, so I had to spend the night there,” he said. “It wasn’t very fun.”

Overnight, Dawson had a close encounter with a family of bears - a mother and three cubs passed about 30 metres from his shelter. He scared them off with a whistle.

On Sunday, more than 24 hours after he first set off, Dawson was rescued by helicopter from a steep cliff near the north peak of Crown Mountain.

“He was in a really cliffy, steep area above the Hanes Valley trail,” said Allan McMordie, search manager for North Shore Rescue. “He was quite a ways off the trail.”

Dawson climbed up to that point in order to get cell phone reception - he couldn’t get a signal in the valley. As it turned out, it was a good thing that he did.

When Dawson’s wife saw he hadn’t come home, she called police to report him missing. Police referred the call to North Shore Rescue, but crews weren’t exactly sure where to look for him.

NSR had set up near Lynn Headwaters, and were planning to canvas the area looking for Dawson, McMordie said.

“Just as we were getting going, he was able to get up in elevation out of the valley enough to make a 9-1-1 call,” he said. “It was a really nice ending for this, because we really had no idea where he was until we got that phone call.”

Now that he’s home safe, Dawson has advice for other hikers: Don’t do what he did.

“If anyone does decide to do something like this and - like me - they think they’re just going to be able to do it in just a couple of hours or that no mistakes are going to happen … just keep in mind that you can’t account for everything,” he said.

“Follow the advice given to you when you actually enter the park. It’s very clearly labeled what you should bring - emergency supplies - because you never know.”