69-year-old Oregon man survives 17 days in the wilderness, shares his story

ROSEBURG, Ore. — A 69-year-old Oregon man who survived 17 days in the wilderness is finally sharing his story. Harry Burleigh set out on a fishing trip in May, but got lost along a trail in the woods. He quickly realized he’d be out there overnight and found a log and some bark to use as a shelter.

In the morning, he was greeted with snow and spent the next two weeks doing what he could to survive. He used a magnifier to make fire, ate bugs and drank water off trees and leaves. The last couple days, Burleigh says he accepted that he was going to die but then, a miracle happened: A search and rescue team finally found him.

“I wanted one more day. I wanted to get home to see [my wife] and so many others. I just wanted one more day,” said Burleigh. “I left that mountain top with something I didn’t have before. My body was beat beyond what I thought it could give, my mind was stretched beyond what I thought I could do. But my life spark, that loving energy that we have within us, was filled.”

Burleigh’s health is finally turning a corner after a 15-day stint in the hospital. He lost about 30 pounds and suffered from dehydration and hypothermia. As for getting back out into the woods, Burleigh says he can’t wait.

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