United States

California Hiker Rescued After 10 Days, Survived On Berries And Boot Water

He survived by drinking water from his boot and eating wild berries, while a mountain lion followed him at a distance.

Missing hiker found alive after 10 days. Photo: Twitter

Lukas McClish, a 34-year-old hiker from California, was rescued on Thursday after spending ten days lost in the rugged terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

According to reports from ABC 7, McClish had set out for what was intended to be a brief three-hour hike on June 11, but he lost his way when he couldn't find familiar landmarks due to previous wildfires in the area.

His absence was noticed on June 16 when he didn't show up for a Father's Day dinner, prompting a search effort that lasted several days before he was finally located.

"I'm tired and a little sore, I lost my voice," McClish shared with reporters upon his rescue. He recounted his ordeal, mentioning that he was poorly equipped with only pants, hiking shoes, a hat, a flashlight and folding scissors.

During his time in the wilderness, McClish survived by drinking water he found and ate wild berries. "I drank water out of my boot," he revealed to KSBW, "and after a while, my body needed food, so I ate wild berries."

Despite the challenges, McClish maintained his spirits, even encountering a mountain lion that he believed was watching over him from a distance. "It was cool. It kept its distance," he said.

McClish's calls for help eventually led to his rescue. The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office received reports of someone yelling for assistance, which guided officials to a remote canyon in Big Basin State Park where McClish was found.

Reflecting on his experience, McClish expressed gratitude for the search efforts that involved drones and assistance from various agencies including Cal Fire and local fire departments. "It was just really humbling and I don't know, it was an awesome experience," he said.

His family, who had been anxiously awaiting news during the search, expressed relief upon his safe return. "Some nights, I just had to trust God that he was going to be okay," shared McClish's mother, Diane.

As for future plans, McClish has decided to take a break from hiking. "I did enough hiking for probably the whole rest of the year," he remarked.