Ed Rosenthal Tells His Tale – Lisa Skelley

Photo by Rosanne Giza

In a well- attended press conference at Clifton’s Cafeteria, in downtown Los Angeles, Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 10 a.m. it was Edward Rosenthal’ s turn to tell the world about his days in the desert, lost in Joshua Tree National Park.

Edward Rosenthal, a 64 year-old Culver City resident, spoke for the first time following his dramatic rescue last week in Joshua Tree National Park, after an intense five day search by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and volunteer search-and-rescue teams.

In front of news cameras, Rosenthal recounted his story, in almost painstaking detail, from losing the trail at Black Rock Canyon (which he had hiked six or seven times before), to the realization of truly being lost in the desert. With no food or water for six days, Rosenthal hunkered down in a small canyon, tied his mylar emergency blanket across his hiking poles for shelter and waited for help to arrive.

Attending the press conference were Sgt. Jeff Joling of San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department and Joe Zarki of National Parks Service, who both praised Rosenthal’s survival technique of finding whatever shade he could during the day to conserve body energy.

Determined to stay calm and focused in dire circumstances, Rosenthal, a commercial real estate broker and poet, wrote a letter to his wife and daughter, using his hiking hat as paper. He wrote much they meant to him. He gave his wife financial information. He wrote a short poem to his brother and nephew. In case he didn’t make it out of the desert alive, he not only requested that Persian food be served at his wake, but for people to joyfully celebrate his life.

Rosenthal and his family are planning to donate money, via fundraising efforts, to express their gratitude to the rescue community, all who serve on a volunteer basis.

Reporters asked Mr. Rosenthal in what way this experience had changed his life. Rosenthal calmly looked around the room and stated, “It’s a miracle. I’m much more of a religious person that before this thing happened. I prayed for rain, and it rained.”

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