Hiker Sets Out to Find Himself, Ends Up Lost, Gets Maggots

Andrew Gaskell learned the hard way to heed trail signs
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 3, 2016 7:57 AM CDT
Hiker Sets Out to Find Himself, Spends 2 Weeks Lost in Jungle
Andrew Gaskell and his rescuers.   (Sarawak Fire and Rescue)

(Newser) – Andrew Gaskell set out to find himself and, well, got lost. The Australian was rescued from the Malaysian jungle on Tuesday after spending two weeks alone in a remote section of Borneo's Mulu National Park. Gaskell had been touring Asia while trying to "come to some sort of conclusion as to who I am and what I want to do with my life" when he entered the park on Oct. 18, planning to do a week-long hike, reports the Telegraph, which cites Gaskell's travel blog. He reached the summit of Mount Mulu but became lost on the way back down. Gaskell—who says he ate wild ferns and drank creek water, per the Borneo Post—was found by rescuers about 65 feet from a trail on Tuesday with leeches covering his legs and maggots rooted in one.

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"Obviously I'm quite starving but apart from that I'm really happy to be alive," he tells ABC Australia from a hospital. "I was quite concerned I wouldn't make my 26th birthday." In a Facebook post Wednesday, Gaskell apologized "for all the inconvenience and trouble that I have caused," noting he "did not have permission to be on that trail" and would have been fine "had I followed correct park rules." According to his travel blog, this wasn't Gaskell's first mishap in Malaysia. He became "exhausted" and suffered minor injuries while walking on a trail that he noted "appears to be forbidden" at another park in August, per ABC. He wrote he had to squeeze "past an annoying [closure] sign that has been inconveniently erected across the extent of the track." Still, he says his adventure in Asia will continue once he's recovered. (This toddler survived for days in a bear-filled forest.)

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