Lost Hiker Survives 3 Weeks in Utah Desert

Ate frogs and roots to stay alive

Caty Enders

A hiker who spent three weeks lost in Utah’s Escalante Desert is in stable condition after rescue crews found him surviving on a diet of frogs and roots. William Martin LaFever, who is autistic, had planned to hike 90 miles from Boulder, Utah, to Page, Arizona. LaFever was last heard from on June 6, when he called his family to say that his camping gear had been stolen. His father told him to catch a ride to Page, where he would wire him money. LaFever decided, instead, to walk along the Escalante River until he reached Page. Rescue crews, who found LaFever 40 miles from Boulder, said he was so weak that he had taken to sleeping on the river bank and rolling himself into the river during the day to keep cool. “In all my career I have never seen someone so emaciated. I could not believe that he was alive, and feel certain that in another 24 hours he would not have been alive,” Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Ray Gardner said in a statement.

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