A 72-year-old man is recuperating in a hospital after surviving 18 days alone in a Northern California forest by eating algae, a snake and other small animals he could kill.
Gene Penaflor’s ordeal began Sept. 24 when he and a hunting partner set off from their camp in the Mendocino National Forest and made their way down two separate ridges. The two had planned to hunt for a couple hours before meeting back up for lunch, Penaflor’s son, Jeremy, told the Ukiah Daily Journal.
Penaflor ended up hiking 2½ miles in what Mendocino County sheriff’s Det. Andrew Porter described as “very steep, rocky and treacherous” terrain.
At some point, the San Francisco resident fell and lost consciousness at the bottom of a steep canyon. When he awoke, he was surrounded by fog and had a cut on his chin. Lacking the energy to hunt the deer he saw, Penaflor survived by eating squirrels, lizards, a snake, berries and algae, the Daily Journal reported.