George Null, 58, had been trapped in the California Angeles National Forest for five long days before he was rescued on Wednesday.
Null, an experienced outdoorsman, was hiking in the Buckhorn, Mount Waterman area last week when he became disoriented—many of the trail markers were burned during last year’s Bobcat Fire.
Through an aerial search, he was eventually found in the forest’s Bear Canyon territory, near a creek in a very remote and rugged part of the woods. The lost hiker waved frantically at the helicopter.
Null’s family is elated to have George returned home safely, and reports to CBS Los Angeles that he only suffered some scratches and blisters.
“He gave me a huge hug,” sister Rebecca Latta said. “I think he’s so exhausted that I really think he doesn’t have a lot of words right now and he’s a little bit delirious after five days of wandering around in the forest.”
Many Twitter users were relived to hear the news of Null as well.
The forestry service has since closed the California Angeles National Forest trails and has strongly encouraged hikers not to visit them currently, allowing time for nature to heal and for the signs to be fixed and replaced.
“I don’t know if he didn’t have a compass or he wasn’t using it I’m not sure,” Latta added. “A really wonderful thing to be able to reunite with him and have that opportunity to see him again.”