Missing hiker found alive after spending 10 days in Santa Cruz Mountains

Lauren Martinez Image
Saturday, June 22, 2024
Hiker found alive after missing for 10 days in Santa Cruz Mountains
Missing hiker Lukas McClish was found alive after spending 10 days in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He shares his story of survival.

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. -- A missing Santa Cruz County hiker is back home after spending more than a week in the mountains, and the heartfelt reunion was all captured in photos.

Lukas McClish, 34, said he spent 10 days in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

On Tuesday, June 11, McClish headed out for a three-hour hike from his hometown of Boulder Creek. He said he got lost and didn't recognize certain landmarks wiped out by fires.

When he didn't show up for Father's Day dinner, he was declared missing on Sunday, June 16.

Four days later, McClish was rescued.

"I'm tired and a little sore, I lost my voice," McClish said.

We spoke with McClish on Friday about what he had on him at the time.

"I left with just a pair of pants, and my pair of hiking shoes, and a hat. I had a flashlight, and a pair of folding scissors, like a Leatherman tool. And that was about it," McClish said.

The sheriff's office said McClish had no major injuries.

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McClish said he survived by drinking lots of water.

"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," McClish said.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office said they deployed drones. The Cal Fire San Mateo-Santa Cruz unit, the Boulder Creek Fire Department and CA State Parks assisted in the search.

The Sheriff's Office said around 3 p.m. on Thursday, witnesses reported hearing someone yelling for help. McClish was found in a remote canyon in Big Basin State Park.

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He was moved to see all the boots and paws on the ground looking for him.

"It was just really humbling and I don't know, it was an awesome experience," McClish said.

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Both he and his family are feeling grateful for all the help they've received, and they won't be hitting the trails any time soon.

"I did enough hiking for probably the whole rest of the year," he said

"Me too," his dad said.

"We've all hiked a lot," his mom said.

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