You would think one would learn not to hike alone without telling someone where you’re going, after hearing the now legendary story of Aron Ralston and his 127-hour ordeal of being trapped by a boulder in Canyonlands National Park — which was immortalized by that movie starring James Franco. Last month, I reported about another man, Amos Richards, who also went hiking solo without any notification, only to end up with a debilitating injury — coincidentally near the same place in Utah as Ralston — that resulted in an ordeal of almost 90 hours before being rescued. Now, there’s a similar scenario — again with a lone hiker who failed to tell anyone where he was going — but this time in Canada, and for over eight days.
According to The Vancouver Sun, 45-year-old Michael St. Laurent of British Columbia went hiking in the woods of the North Shore mountains, only to stray off the trail and get lost. He failed to find his way, and in the process contracted a severe case of “immersion foot” (hypothermia of the foot), rendering him nearly immobile. He managed to survive for two days on food that he’d packed, and the subsequent seven days were survived by eating wild blueberries and drinking rainwater. He claims he went delusional on the third day, and yelled for help when search and rescue teams were near — which had tried to find him after discovering his abandoned car — but his throat was too dehydrated to be loud enough to be heard by them.
The situation was grim, and in an acceptance of his own demise, he wrote his name, date of birth and next of kin in red felt pen on his forearm so that he would not die anonymously. Fortunately for him, he was found alive by an off-duty North Shore Rescue volunteer who was on a trail run, who alerted a rescue team to ultimately airlift him to Lions Gate Hospital.
Unlike Ralston, Laurent is expected to have a full recovery (with all limbs intact). Whether or not he’s learned his lesson is to be determined, but from the constant reports of stories like these, it seems no one does.