Hiker missing for ten days in mountains survived by drinking gallons of water

The hiker credited his survival to drinking plenty of water from creeks and waterfalls.

A man from California was stranded in the mountains for ten days after getting lost on a hike and only survived by drinking one gallon (3.8 litres) of water each day.

Lukas McClish, 34, set out for what he thought would be a three-hour hike in the Santa Cruz Mountains, near San Jose, on June 11 but became lost in the mountains, partly due to the destruction of local landmarks in recent wildfires.

His family officially reported him missing when he did not show up for a Father’s Day dinner on June 16, triggering search and rescue efforts.

Mr McClish told CNN affiliate KGO that he was “tired and a little sore” after his ordeal, adding he had lost his voice.

“I left with just a pair of pants, and my pair of hiking shoes, and a hat,” he said.

“I had a flashlight, and a pair of folding scissors, like a Leatherman tool. And that was about it.”

He credited his survival to drinking plenty of water from creeks and waterfalls he discovered while hiking through the park each day and calling for help.

Mr McClish said: “I just make 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.”

He added that seeing the number of search and rescue crew who worked to find him was “really humbling” and “an awesome experience”.

He was found with “no major injuries and was reunited with his family,” according to the Sheriff’s office.

In a post on X, Cal Fire San Mateo, which assisted in the rescue efforts, said Mr McClish was eventually found on Thursday in Big Basin Redwoods State Park – California’s oldest state park – thanks to a drone from the Santa Cruz sheriff’s office.

“There were multiple reports of witnesses hearing someone yelling for help, but the location of that person was hard to establish,” Cal Fire said.

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