Hiker Survives 10 Days In California Mountains By Drinking Water Collected In Boot

A hiker who got lost in the California mountains for 10 days said he survived by drinking water collected in his boot, according to reports.

Lukas McClish, 34, was shirtless and only in possession of a flashlight and folding scissors when he set off on a planned three-hour hike of the Big Basin Redwoods State Park in Santa Cruz County on June 11, ABC 7 Los Angeles reported.

The Boulder Creek resident hadn’t told anyone of his plans, and his family reported him missing when he failed to show up for a Father’s Day dinner six days later.

He was eventually found in a remote canyon on Thursday afternoon after a multi-agency search involving the police and fire services and park rangers.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, which said it used drones to help find the missing man, hailed the “team effort” that led to “the best outcome we could have hoped for.”

McClish explained he lost his bearings because landmarks had been destroyed by recent wildfires, and that he ate wildberries and slept on wet leaves as he periodically screamed for help.

“Just ‘Help, help. I’m over here,’” McClish said to local station KSBW. “Or ‘Is anybody out there? I want a burrito and a taco bowl,’ that’s what I thought about every day when after the first five days, when I started to kind of realize that I might be in over my head.”

He added that a mountain lion followed him, which was “cool” because the big cat “kept its distance.” “I think it was just somebody watching over me,” McClish added.

He signaled that a key to his survival was making sure to drink a gallon of water every 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, according to KSBW.