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Bugs, berries helped lost Utah man survive in the wilderness

SALT LAKE CITY — Grasshoppers, ants and berries. That’s what a Utah man, lost in the wilderness for five days after trouble on a horseback riding trip, says kept him alive.

Kaden Laga, 25, was found Friday, days after he became lost near the Idaho/Montana border. He told his story to NBC Montana, saying at least at one point, he thought he wouldn’t make it.

“I just wrote a little note in case they found my body cold,” he said. “I just wrote it to Arden and I said, in case I don’t make it out of here I love you. I’ve loved my life with you and I’m so sorry I’ve left you to be a single mom.”

But somehow, Laga told himself he had to keep going.

“No matter what, you’re getting off this mountain and it doesn’t matter how long it takes,” Laga recalled telling himself. “It doesn’t matter how hard it is. You can’t die here.”

Laga and his family were riding horses when his horse went lame. He told the rest of the group he would walk the rest of the way and meet them later. The family waited at the meeting spot, but Laga never made it.

Search parties combed the wilderness for days. At one point, Laga says he could even see a plane, likely searching for him.

Then, Friday morning, five days later, Laga found a camp of volunteers.

“So I’m standing quite a ways away and I yell, ‘hello, hello, hello!’ And then I hear them go, ‘are you Kaden?’ and I yell ‘I am Kaden!’” he said.

Laga says he spent most of his time searching for a trail to follow, surviving on berries and insects – mostly ants and grasshoppers – until his rescue. He estimates he slept just three hours a night, but says, fortunately, there was enough water to sustain him.