Lost In Blizzard, Hiker From Pa. Lives To Tell Tale Of Trek - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Lost In Blizzard While Hiking, Chester County Man Lives To Tell Tale Of Trek

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HONEYBROOK, Pa. -

Outdoorsman Ian Sarmento from Chester County, Pa., set out on a journey from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail, leaving behind technology, setting forth on the trek with not even a compass in his pocket.

"I wanted to be able to rely on myself given that anything go wrong, but I never expected it to go that wrong," Sarmento told FOX 29 News.

The 2,650-mile trek would take the 21-year-old from Honeybrook about six months to complete, but not without a few bumps along the trail.

Nick-named "I'm fine" by other trailblazers, Sarmento found himself literally knee-deep in a situation where he was – not fine.

"I unzipped the tent, a bunch of snow fell in, I looked out and I was like, 'Wow,'" Sarmento said.

Sarmento's journey had taken a turn for the worse, with no way to communicate.

"I woke up in the morning, went straight not realizing the trail went left. Ended up on a bridge that brought me down into a canyon and pitched my tent. There was no way out," he said.

Not knowing which way to turn, Sarmento said he felt hopeless, "You know, I was just this little speck in this huge wilderness."

With little food, Sarmento was stuck in a canyon of snow. "I had one day worth of trail food, which is about 5,000 calories. When I got in the canyon, and on the second day I was rationing about 300 to 500 calories a day. And after nine days I ran out."

After 10 long days, it rained, and Sarmento was able to retrace his steps back towards the beaten path.

"Not actually knowing that I would get out or not for certain, I started to write notes to all my loved ones, my parents, my brother, my sisters, close friends, just last words you would want to say to somebody," Sarmento recalled.

Once reaching civilization, he saw a search party had been called on his behalf. Woozy, and weak from starvation, he looked up to see a Missing poster with his face on it.

"I felt really bad for causing so much commotion. At the same time, I felt really grateful to be out of it all," Sarmento told Fox 29 News.

Next up for Sarmento is the Continental Divide. But he says he won't think about stepping foot on that trail for a few years as he is still a bit exhausted from the last excursion, not only mentally but physically.

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