Rescued! Missing Hiker Survives 10 Days in Santa Cruz Mountains – Heartwarming Reunion Captured in Photos

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. – A missing hiker from Northern California has been reunited with his family after spending over a week lost in the rugged terrain of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Lukas McClish, 34, embarked on what was supposed to be a three-hour hike on June 11, but soon found himself disoriented and unable to find his way back.

Concern grew when McClish failed to return in time for Father’s Day dinner and was declared missing on June 16. After days of search efforts involving various agencies including the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Cal Fire, and local fire departments, McClish was finally located in a remote canyon at Big Basin State Park on Thursday.

Despite enduring days of isolation, McClish managed to survive by rationing water and staying hydrated. “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 shared.

The rescue operation was a collaborative effort, with drones deployed and search teams scouring the area to locate McClish. The heartfelt reunion between McClish and his family was filled with gratitude for those who tirelessly searched for him. “It was just really humbling and I don’t know, it was an awesome experience,” McClish expressed.

Both McClish and his family expressed their gratitude for the support they received during the ordeal. Looking forward, they have decided to take a break from hiking for the foreseeable future. “I did enough hiking for probably the whole rest of the year,” McClish chuckled, with his family members agreeing.

As McClish recovers from his wilderness experience, the community celebrates his safe return and the successful efforts of all involved in the search and rescue mission.