Hiker found alive after going missing for 10 days reveals how he survived

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By Kim Novak

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A hiker who went missing for 10 days in remote mountains in California has revealed how he managed to survive against the odds.

Lukas McClish, 34, vanished after setting off on a three-hour walk through the Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Boulder Creek on June 11.

The experienced hiker had set out to visit some rare granite outcroppings in the area and hadn't told anyone about where he was going, and - assuming he was only going to be gone a few hours - did not even put a shirt on before he left.

However, his quick trip ended up turning into disaster after he found he quickly got lost - and his family only raised the alarm five days later when he failed to turn up to a Father's Day lunch.


To make matters worse, Lukas had only taken minimal supplies with him, telling KGO-TV: "I left with a pair of pants, and my hiking shoes and a hat. I had a flashlight and a pair of folding scissors, like a Leatherman tool - and that was about it."

McClish is an experienced hiker who also does landscaping in forests that have been ravaged by wildfires, so he was "astounded" when he quickly found himself lost.

As he hadn't told anyone where he was going, nobody noticed that he'd failed to return until five days later when his parents raised the alarm after he failed to turn up to a Father's Day lunch, leading to his eventual rescue after 10 days in the wild.

Revealing how he managed to survive for so long without any food or water supplies, he explained that he had drank water from the creek out of his boot, and ate wild berries.

He explained: "I just made sure I drank a gallon of water every day, but then after, getting close to the end of it, my body needed food and some kind of sustenance."


McClish had spent the nights sleeping on wet leaves, and being without proper food for so long meant he lost around 2.5 stone (30lbs) in weight.

He faced further peril when a mountain lion began following him, and by dat eight he was suffering from hypothermia and slipped while going over a rock face.

In desperation, he began shouting: "Help, help, I'm over here" for around 48 hours until one of the 300 rangers that were searching for him heard his cries.

He was finally located using a drone and sniffer dog, and was taken to hospital where he miraculously only needed one night of treatment before he could be reunited with his family, who'd been waiting at the forest's edge when he was rescued.

McClish revealed that the reason he had got lost so quickly was that the area he was hiking in had been razed in the CZU Lightning Complex fire of 2020 and "looks completely different from all of the other terrain".

GettyImages-1212042083.jpgDespite being an experienced hiker, the fire-decimated forest made him lose his bearings. Credit: EyeWolf/Getty Images

He explained: "That's one thing I didn't take into consideration - when the fire comes through like that and decimates it, it turns into the desert and you're unable to find your bearings."

Ordinarily, he'd have been able to use markers such as deer trails or hiking paths to find his way, but these had been wiped out by the blaze.

McClish had put all his survival skills into practice when he found himself in his predicament, and being an avid backpacker helped him to know what to do.

He had tried to build himself a camp on the first night, but the brush he'd used to start a fire was wet, so he hiked across a canyon for better shelter, before setting out the following day to find a stream he believed was nearby.

He told WDBJ: "So I just kind of hiked. Each day I go up a canyon, down a canyon, to the next waterfall, drank water out of my boot.

"I felt comfortable every time I was out there. I wasn't worried about it.

"I had a mountain lion that was following me, but it was cool. It kept its distance. I think it was just somebody watching over me."

He began to worry by day five, as he knew he'd eventually find the ocean if he kept following the sun, but didn't know how far from it he actually was.

His family filed a missing persons report on day five and a massive search was put in place to locate him.


His mother, Diane, told the outlet: "Some nights, although I just had to trust God that he was going to be OK - and that was hard to do some nights, when we would go to bed at night, because I would worry about where he was, where he was sleeping, how cold he was and where he was if he was alive."

And while that adventure might put most people off hiking ever again, McClish revealed that he doesn't fear the wilderness, but joked: "I did enough hiking for probably the whole rest of the year."

Featured image credit: Jordan Siemens/Getty Images

Hiker found alive after going missing for 10 days reveals how he survived

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

A hiker who went missing for 10 days in remote mountains in California has revealed how he managed to survive against the odds.

Lukas McClish, 34, vanished after setting off on a three-hour walk through the Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Boulder Creek on June 11.

The experienced hiker had set out to visit some rare granite outcroppings in the area and hadn't told anyone about where he was going, and - assuming he was only going to be gone a few hours - did not even put a shirt on before he left.

However, his quick trip ended up turning into disaster after he found he quickly got lost - and his family only raised the alarm five days later when he failed to turn up to a Father's Day lunch.


To make matters worse, Lukas had only taken minimal supplies with him, telling KGO-TV: "I left with a pair of pants, and my hiking shoes and a hat. I had a flashlight and a pair of folding scissors, like a Leatherman tool - and that was about it."

McClish is an experienced hiker who also does landscaping in forests that have been ravaged by wildfires, so he was "astounded" when he quickly found himself lost.

As he hadn't told anyone where he was going, nobody noticed that he'd failed to return until five days later when his parents raised the alarm after he failed to turn up to a Father's Day lunch, leading to his eventual rescue after 10 days in the wild.

Revealing how he managed to survive for so long without any food or water supplies, he explained that he had drank water from the creek out of his boot, and ate wild berries.

He explained: "I just made sure I drank a gallon of water every day, but then after, getting close to the end of it, my body needed food and some kind of sustenance."


McClish had spent the nights sleeping on wet leaves, and being without proper food for so long meant he lost around 2.5 stone (30lbs) in weight.

He faced further peril when a mountain lion began following him, and by dat eight he was suffering from hypothermia and slipped while going over a rock face.

In desperation, he began shouting: "Help, help, I'm over here" for around 48 hours until one of the 300 rangers that were searching for him heard his cries.

He was finally located using a drone and sniffer dog, and was taken to hospital where he miraculously only needed one night of treatment before he could be reunited with his family, who'd been waiting at the forest's edge when he was rescued.

McClish revealed that the reason he had got lost so quickly was that the area he was hiking in had been razed in the CZU Lightning Complex fire of 2020 and "looks completely different from all of the other terrain".

GettyImages-1212042083.jpgDespite being an experienced hiker, the fire-decimated forest made him lose his bearings. Credit: EyeWolf/Getty Images

He explained: "That's one thing I didn't take into consideration - when the fire comes through like that and decimates it, it turns into the desert and you're unable to find your bearings."

Ordinarily, he'd have been able to use markers such as deer trails or hiking paths to find his way, but these had been wiped out by the blaze.

McClish had put all his survival skills into practice when he found himself in his predicament, and being an avid backpacker helped him to know what to do.

He had tried to build himself a camp on the first night, but the brush he'd used to start a fire was wet, so he hiked across a canyon for better shelter, before setting out the following day to find a stream he believed was nearby.

He told WDBJ: "So I just kind of hiked. Each day I go up a canyon, down a canyon, to the next waterfall, drank water out of my boot.

"I felt comfortable every time I was out there. I wasn't worried about it.

"I had a mountain lion that was following me, but it was cool. It kept its distance. I think it was just somebody watching over me."

He began to worry by day five, as he knew he'd eventually find the ocean if he kept following the sun, but didn't know how far from it he actually was.

His family filed a missing persons report on day five and a massive search was put in place to locate him.


His mother, Diane, told the outlet: "Some nights, although I just had to trust God that he was going to be OK - and that was hard to do some nights, when we would go to bed at night, because I would worry about where he was, where he was sleeping, how cold he was and where he was if he was alive."

And while that adventure might put most people off hiking ever again, McClish revealed that he doesn't fear the wilderness, but joked: "I did enough hiking for probably the whole rest of the year."

Featured image credit: Jordan Siemens/Getty Images