"The family has a tremendous amount of relief that they have been found alive and well," said Scott Christman, 39, an electrician.
The trio, inexperienced in wilderness hiking, left the visitor center about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday for what was to be a leisurely, several-hour jaunt.
Without cellphones, the hikers were to return to the visitor center and report home by midafternoon.
Elizabeth Christman began to be concerned when she received no word from them by 3 p.m. At 3:30, she phoned the sanctuary to report them missing.
Sanctuary staff combed the trails immediately around the visitor center, an outpost on a ridge atop Hawk Mountain in Albany Township. The Christmans drove to the mountaintop and Scott Christman joined the search.
By 5 p.m., the word had gone out and the first of about 100 rescuers began arriving.
The Kempton Fire Company set up a command post in the visitor center.
About 11:45 p.m., on a remote trail about 11/2 miles from the crest of Hawk Mountain, searchers came across the stranded party. The hikers were brought to the visitor center and reunited with their families about 12:35 a.m. Thursday.
Durn and the boys did not meet with reporters, but Scott and Elizabeth Christman reported all three had been uninjured and were in good spirits.
"The boys," she said, "are eating hot dogs."