Man Survives 10 Days Lost in the Forest Without Even a Shirt

Lukas McClish survived by drinking creek water, eating wild berries
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2024 12:00 AM CDT
Man Goes Into the Forest Without Even a Shirt, Survives 10 Days Lost
Stock photo of redwood trees.   (Getty Images / Rebecca Todd)

When Lukas McClish went into California's Big Basin Redwoods State Park on June 11 to look for a granite outcropping a friend had told him about, he wasn't even wearing a shirt. "I didn't bring anything because I thought I was doing a three-hour hike," the 34-year-old tells KSBW. He ended up missing in the woods for 10 days and nine nights with only a hat, a flashlight, and a folding tool with scissors on him, he tells KGO-TV. He survived by drinking water from creeks and eating wild berries, and a man living in the area eventually heard McClish yelling for help, which led to his dramatic rescue. The moment was captured in a photo that can be seen at NewsNation.

About 300 people, including emergency personnel from multiple agencies, assisted in the search, the New York Times reports. McClish does landscaping in forests razed by wildfires, but didn't realize the terrain in the area where he was hiking would look so different after it was ravaged by a wildfire in 2020. "That's one thing that 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," he says, explaining that the usual markers he'd use (deer trails, hiking paths) were no longer there. He lost 30 pounds during the ordeal, but was otherwise largely unscathed. (More California stories.)

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