Lost on a Maine Mountain

Speaking of classics, I don't know a little boy who doesn't thrill to the tale of Donn Fendler, who spent nine days lost in the North Woods and somehow survived. Seventy years ago this week, the twelve-year old Boy Scout from Rye, New York was climbing Mount Katahdin (Maine's tallest peak) when he got separated from his party in a thick blanket of fog. He ended up wandering, lost and alone, while 350 searchers combed the area for what many presumed would be his dead body. But despite an early series of rash decisions, his Boy Scout skills — and a whole lot of luck — kept him alive. On July 26, 1939 Donn Fendler emerged from the forest; exhausted, emaciated, and dressed only in his underwear, he came upon a remote hunting camp where he was finally rescued. In the days that followed, he became a national hero and even received a medal from President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Seventy years later, Maine's original "lost boy" still gives talks to school kids on the importance of being prepared before one enters the woods.