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Hiker who survived wilderness shares story

October 5, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A hiker who survived six days lost in the wilderness without food or water shared his story publicly on Tuesday for the first time since his rescue.Edward Rosenthal, 64, got lost while hiking in the Joshua Tree National Park on Sept. 24 and wandered for more than 15 miles trying to find his way out.

The news conference was held at Clifton's Cafeteria because he had brokered the sale of the establishment right before he took the hike. The hike was supposed to be a celebratory hike.

Rosenthal spoke candidly about his experience in front of a room full of reporters and photographers for about 40 minutes.

He had set out on Black Rock Canyon Trail near Yucca Valley, a hike he said he had taken since the 1990s. He said he knew the three-mile terrain, but somehow, he got lost.

He ended up in canyons he had never seen before in his life. He hunkered down in a shaded area and waited for help. He said that at times, he thought he may not make it, and he wrote what he thought were his final words on a hat.

"I got weaker and weaker. I would have died without my hiking stick to raise and lower myself," he said during the news conference.

Rosenthal was jovial while speaking to reporters, even cracking several jokes. He said a horse fly became his companion.

"It slept on me and hung out all day," he said.

Search crews spotted Rosenthal on Sept. 30 and airlifted him to a hospital, where doctors told him his kidneys were in danger of failing. By Monday, he had recovered enough to return to his Culver City home.

Rosenthal said he was grateful to be alive and thought about his family for the majority of the time that he was stranded, adding that his wife told him he would never be going hiking alone again.

Rosenthal said he is organizing donations to be set up for San Bernardino Search and Rescue to help pay for all the resources it took to find him in the canyon.


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