But nearly two days and two freezing nights later, searchers are desperately trying to find him in the rugged terrain of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
"The most probable thing is that he walked away, went out in the woods and went to investigate," said David Bauer, a ranger with the parkway.
Auberry, of Greensboro, has been a Scout for about a year and has a first-class rank, his father, Kent Auberry, told the Winston-Salem Journal. The scout's parents said he likes to camp but doesn't like the cold.
Searchers planned to continue their efforts overnight Sunday on trails and fire roads, then return to more rugged off-road areas at daybreak, Bauer said.
About 10 scouts and their three adult leaders of Troop 230 noticed Auberry was missing after eating lunch together Saturday.
Bauer said Auberry stayed behind with an adult leader while the rest of the troop went for a hike Saturday "because apparently he wanted to sleep in." The troop members returned and ate lunch with Auberry and the leader. Soon after, between 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m., they noticed Auberry was missing from the camp, he said.
Searchers overnight Saturday found part of Auberry's mess kit less than a mile from the camp, he said.
Bauer said he's not aware of Auberry having any arguments or problems with the troop or his family.
Temperatures were expected to drop into the 20s for a second straight night Sunday but rise into the upper 50s on Monday.
Debbie Hayes, Michael's mother, said he was wearing a red heavy outercoat and an inner fleece coat, and had gloves and a hat in a pocket. He was wearing a dark blue University of North Carolina Tar Heels baseball cap.
Search crews have included volunteer firefighters, National Park Service staff and rescue squads from the state park system and Alleghany and Wilkes counties. A Highway Patrol helicopter equipped with an infrared sensor that can detect body heat was sent to assist the search.