ROSEBURG, Ore. (KPIC) — Harry Burleigh went fishing in May and disappeared. For 17 days, his wife worried. His son traveled to Roseburg, Oregon from Arizona. Search and rescue crews combed the woods east of the city.
Then news broke: He'd been found — alive.
But for Burleigh himself, those 17 days were a fight to survive one more day to see his wife and family again.
He shared his story for the first time Thursday, almost two months after his ordeal.
Burleigh said he felt like he left the mountain top with something he didn't have before. His body was beaten and his mind was stretched, but his "life spark" was filled.
He also recognizes he didn't follow the general protocols of hiking and fishing. He was rusty; he hadn't been out in a year due to the COVID pandemic.
When the wind picked up, he cut his fishing trip short. But he had the need for a thrill and thought he could "dash" up a trail. He didn't bring any supplies because he thought he would be in and out of a trail.
It didn't work out that way.
After signing in at the trailhead, he hit a spot where the trail split. He said it would've been a good spot to turn around but he continued on. When he finally decided to turn around, it was dark. No one knew where he was. He was out of cell service range.
Then he realized he would be there overnight.
He found a log and cleaned it out. He got bark and laid it down so he wouldn't be on the ground. He didn't sleep because it was so cold. He got up and was greeted with snow.
He tried scaling down a rock and tripped and fell. He hit his head and was bleeding. In an instant, everything got serious. He says it was no longer just a hike. It was survival.https://kpic.com/news/local/lost-in-woods-for-17-days-oregon-man-ate-bugs-drank-own-urine-to-survive-to-see-wife