August 29, 2014 7:08 am

Winnipegger lost in bush lived on all-dressed chips, rain water

Christopher Cloutier got lost while camping with three friends in Manitoba's Nopiming Provincial Park.

RCMP handout / Global News

WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg man who was lost in the wild for three days says he survived on rain water and all-dressed chips.

Christopher Cloutier was camping with friends in Nopiming Provincial Park in southeastern Manitoba when they got separated.

He decided to try to walk to their launching point but got turned around.

Cloutier’s friends reported him missing on Sunday when they returned to their campsite and couldn’t find him.

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Search and rescue crews searched for him on foot, by boat and by air, but didn’t find him.

On Tuesday, he found his way to a road and flagged down a passing vehicle; he says the relief he felt was overwhelming.

“I had in my backpack just two pairs of jeans, a sweater and a T-shirt, a bottle of water and a bag of chips and some socks. That’s all I had,” Cloutier said Thursday.

The 24-year-old was able to start fires with a lighter and birch tree bark and branches.

“I really like the show Survivor Man and I actually got a lot of tips off that, like smoke signals and stuff.”

Cloutier said he was afraid at times, particularly at night. His worst fear was running into a wolf.

“The worst I think it got was when I would try to sleep, off in the distance you would hear branches getting broken down by I guess bears or moose, because there are lots of moose out there. But I didn’t see any,” he said.

Hours before he was rescued, Cloutier was injured.

“I was trying to climb up this steep rock, except it’s so wet. Especially with the shoes I was wearing — they were just little skateboarding shoes so they don’t have much grip on them.

“So I just slipped and I tried catching my balance except just the momentum of my leg going and the weight of me, it just buckled underneath me and I thought my leg was broken for sure,” he said.

He said he couldn’t believe it when he saw a vehicle on the third day.

“I said, ‘Can you take me to a store? I need to get food, I need to get water and I need to grab some smokes.’ I didn’t see anybody for three days and just seeing somebody — when you’re walking down that trail and seeing somebody coming around that corner in a vehicle, you know it’s over at that point. It’s just overwhelming a little bit, eh?”

– CJOB

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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