Lost Fisherman Survives 17 Days Alone in the Woods


(ModernSurvival.org) – A fun fishing trip turned into a fight for survival when 69-year-old Harry Burleigh lost his way hiking to Twin Lakes in Oregon. Harry found himself lost without a map, compass or even a bottle of water, all of which he left in his vehicle. To make matters worse, Harry suffered an injury after losing his balance and hitting his head on a log.

Mr. Burleigh wasn’t going to give up, though. With some ingenuity, a pair of underwear, and a 40-year-old gift, Harry was able to survive 17 days alone in the woods. The underwear was fashioned into a makeshift hat to keep body heat from escaping through his scalp. The gift, a plastic magnifying glass given to him by his father-in-law, helped him make a fire when all other methods he tried failed.

Thanks to his ingenuity, Harry was able to prevent hypothermia from taking his life and last long enough to be rescued. The lost fisherman spent 12 days in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Riverbend, suffering from a variety of ailments including malnutrition, dehydration, and hypothermia.

Harry’s story is a reminder that when facing a life or death situation, anything can be used to survive. Just as Harry repurposed his own underwear to save his life, a smart survivalist will make use of whatever they can to stay alive — even their socks.

Surprising Survival Uses for Socks

When it comes to a life-or-death situation, everything at your disposal can (and should) be used in an effort to survive — including the socks on your feet. A good pair of socks can keep feet warm and dry, but that is just the beginning of their potential uses.

To show the versatility of socks in a survival situation, WayPoint Survival has provided the following video:

In addition to wearing them on the feet, a good pair of wool socks can also serve as an improvised pair of mittens in cold weather. Also, they can protect the hands when picking up hot items, much like oven mitts.

Here are some more uses for socks in the field:

  • Socks make for a great storage bag when foraging.
  • Placing stones in the toe of the sock makes a defensive bludgeoning tool.
  • Socks can serve as an elastic tie if other cordage is unavailable.
  • Placing socks over the top of shoes or boots provides extra traction in slick conditions.
  • Stuffing a sock with other extra clothing or even fallen leaves makes a pillow.
  • In dire straits, an extra sock can serve as toilet paper.
  • Pouring water through a sock acts as a pre-filter before boiling, removing large particles of contaminants from the fluid.
  • In the event of a laceration to an extremity, an improvised tourniquet can be made from a sock (or two socks tied together). Placing a sock directly over a wound can also act as a makeshift bandage — just make sure it is a clean sock.

The uses for socks in a survival situation go far beyond those listed here. They can even be cut into pieces to make fire starters if nothing else is available. The key is to use what you have available to stay alive, down to your socks.

To see how another piece of clothing can be used in a survival situation, take a peek at our article on bandanas.

~Here’s to Your Survival!

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