Man survives 5 days lost in wilderness, promised wife he'd return home

A man who survived five days lost in the wilderness on the Montana-Idaho border said he pulled through, in part, because he promised his pregnant wife he'd return home safe.

Kaden Laga, 25, of Utah, was backpacking with his family when one of their horses went lame, Laga told KPAX-TV. Laga volunteered to hike ahead of the group to the trailhead. But he took a wrong turn and wasn't able to find the trail.

After a few hours, Laga realized he was lost.

Hours turned into days. On his first night alone, Laga was wet and cold, and didn't think he'd survive. He wrote a text to his wife, Arden, on his phone.

"I wrote a little text in case they found my body cold," he told KSTU-TV. "I just said, 'In case I don't make it out of here, I love you. I loved my life with you and I'm so sorry I left you to be a single mom.'"

But Laga said he was determined to be reunited with his family. Before he had left on the trip, Arden had told him, 'You better promise me that you come home safe,'" Laga told KSTU-TV.

Laga drank water from streams and ate berries and crickets. One day, he noticed helicopters flying overhead.

“I’m like, 'This is it, they’re going to get me,' and they just take off into the other direction,” he said.

Laga realized the searchers couldn't see him, so he continued hiking to try to find a way out.

Finally, around 1 a.m. on Aug. 16, he stumbled upon a campsite. Volunteers helped Laga down the mountain, and he was reunited with his family the next day.

Laga kept his promise to his wife. The couple told KPAX-TV they plan to name their baby boy after one of the rescuers.

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