California Hiker Lost for 9 Nights in Mountains Reunites with Family

A man was found alive Thursday after being lost and spending nine nights alone in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains.

When he set out on his hike on June 11, Lukas McClish of Boulder Creek thought it would only take him three hours to get to work and did not tell anyone where he was headed. He only had a flashlight and folding scissors with him at the time, KSBW reported on Saturday.

McClish, who was not even wearing a shirt, drank creek water and ate wild berries during his long ordeal. He said he hiked every day he was lost, going up and down canyons.

When his family began to worry on Father’s Day, they filed a missing person’s report, and authorities launched a search to find him.

“I’m sore and a little tired and I lost my voice,” he told ABC 7 News. “I just made 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 type of sustenance”:

While he was missing, McClish spent his nights sleeping on a bed of leaves and yelled for help. In addition, he could not stop thinking about how much he wanted to eat a burrito and taco bowl.

When someone heard him calling for help on Thursday, first responders deployed a drone which located him in that area, and state park’s K-9 pinpointed him exactly.

He was found in a remote canyon and was eventually reunited with his loved ones.

His mother said, “Met a lot of people because I had more people come to me and tell me how much they love my son and how they just hoped that we would find him. I didn’t realize that so many people in this town love Luke.”

An image shows the moment he embraced his family after being rescued:

The moment he was found, McClish was overwhelmed by how many helpers were looking for him.

“It was just really humbling. It was an awesome experience,” he said. McClish also noted he felt comfortable the entire time he was lost and was not worried.

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