For more than a week, 34-year-old Lukas McClish roamed the Big Basin Redwoods without food or supplies.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the strategy that saved McClish’s life was when he began screaming for help, pushing his fatigued body to its limit. Multiple people heard his cries directing rescue teams to his remote location.

McClish told ABC News that he left with a pair of pants, some hiking shoes and a hat.

The New York Post reported McClish didn’t even put a shirt on when he began his hike on June 11 and was reported missing six days later when he didn’t show up for Father’s Day dinner, per ABC7 Los Angeles.

McClish told KSBW News, “I didn’t bring anything because I thought I was doing a three-hour hike to go to work.”

Three hours turned into 10 days for the California hiker as he got lost in the thick Santa Cruz mountains.

“So I kind of just hiked each day. I go up a canyon, down a canyon to the next waterfall and sit down by the waterfall and drink water out of my boot,” McClish said in an interview with KSBW News.

Surviving only off of contaminated water, McClish lost 30 pounds and even had an encounter with a mountain lion.


McClish’s mother Diane said in an interview with KSBW News, “Some nights, 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 and how cold he was and where he was if he was alive.”

The National Park Service encourages individuals to hike smart through detailed preparation. Leave details regarding your trip with family and friends, make sure someone knows where you will be hiking, when you will be returning and who you are going with. For more tips for beginner and experienced hikers, visit the National Park Service website.

McClish said that his hiking shoes are going to be hung up for the rest of the year.

“I did enough hiking for probably the whole rest of the year,” he said in an interview with ABC7.

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