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'Ants Were My Nemesis,' Hiker Lost in Wilderness Says

Other hazards were expected
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 14, 2019 5:04 PM CDT
Josh McClatchy was lost in an Arkansas wilderness area.   (Getty/Terri Reid)

(Newser) – A drink of good, clean drinking water was Josh McClatchy's first request after being rescued. "It was so refreshing," he said. McClatchy had spent nearly five days fending for himself in the Caney Creek Wilderness of Arkansas after becoming lost on a hike last week. He was prepared for his hydration needs; he took bottled water with him on the hike, and he had a filter straw in case he needed to drink water that might not be clean. Once he realized he was lost, he told ABC, he followed streams. But except for the fact that he was wearing long sleeves, McClatchy was unprepared for the ants. "I learned very quickly that the ants were my nemesis," McClatchy told ABC's Good Morning America. "Ants that were an inch long, the stinger as large as the head."

The ants swarmed him. "That first night I learned to tuck everything in, so I had my wool socks and had my pants tucked in to my wool socks," McClatchy said. He had become disoriented in the wilderness and called his mother, but he was unable to get a connection a second time. She reported him missing, and the search began. Six days later, a helicopter spotted him. Rescuers took him out in a one-wheeled car, a three-mile trip that took four hours. He called them heroes. McClatchy was dehydrated, with a cut on his head, but he'd also battled despair. And he had gone without his medication for bipolar disorder for nearly a week. But when he was put into an ambulance, he was smiling. (Read more search and rescue stories.)

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