Man survives 10 days in California wilderness by drinking water

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Man lost in California forest for 10 days survives on wild berries and creek water.

CALIFORNIA, June 24: A man from Boulder Creek, California, survived 10 days in the wilderness of Big Basin Redwood State Park after losing his way during a short hike. Lukas McClish, 34, set out for a three-hour hike on June 11 but soon found himself disoriented and unable to find his way back. He was reported missing by his family five days later when he failed to show up for a scheduled dinner.

Ill-prepared for an extended stay in the forest, McClish had only a small torch and a Leatherman multipurpose tool with him. “I didn’t bring anything because I thought I was doing a three-hour hike,” he explained.

Realizing he was lost, McClish attempted to navigate back to civilization. “Each day, I would go up a canyon, down a canyon to the next waterfall, sit down by the waterfall, and drink water out of my boot. I made sure I drank at least a gallon of water every day,” he said. He also foraged for wild berries to sustain himself.

Throughout his ordeal, McClish encountered a mountain lion. Despite the potential danger, he remained calm. “I had a mountain lion that was following me, but it was cool. It kept its distance,” he recounted. At night, he slept on a bed of wet leaves and spent his days shouting for help.

A large-scale rescue operation was launched, involving drones and around 300 emergency personnel. McClish was eventually found in a remote canyon by two state park rangers and a sniffer dog who heard his cries for help. When he emerged from the forest, he was shirtless, grimy, and wild-haired. He hugged his mother in relief, appearing on the verge of tears.

McClish was astonished by the extensive search effort. “It was really humbling. It was an awesome experience,” he said. He suffered no serious injuries but was extremely hungry, having craved burritos and taco bowls during his ordeal. “That’s what I thought about every day when, after the first five days, I started to realize that I might be in over my head.”

Despite his love for hiking, McClish stated he won’t be venturing into the woods again anytime soon. “I did enough hiking for probably the whole rest of the year,” he remarked.

Mark Bingham, a local fire service officer, praised McClish’s survival skills. “For about 10 days he survived in the wilderness, drinking out of the creek and eating wild berries. He did have a minor injury. But for the most part, he was disoriented and surviving off the land, which is pretty impressive to say what a tough individual he is,” Bingham said.

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