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Lost on a Mountain in Maine

Lost on a Mountain in Maine

4.3 12
by Donn Fendler, Joseph Egan, Joseph B. Egan (As Told to)

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Based on the true account of a boy's harrowing journey through the vast wilderness of the Katahdin Mountains, Lost on a Mountain in Maine is a gripping survival story for all ages.

Twelve-year-old Donn Fendler steps away from his Boy Scout troop for only a minute, but in the foggy mountains of Maine, a minute is all it takes. After hours of trying to


Based on the true account of a boy's harrowing journey through the vast wilderness of the Katahdin Mountains, Lost on a Mountain in Maine is a gripping survival story for all ages.

Twelve-year-old Donn Fendler steps away from his Boy Scout troop for only a minute, but in the foggy mountains of Maine, a minute is all it takes. After hours of trying to find his way back, a nervous and tired Donn falls down an embankment, making it impossible for him to be found. One sleepless night goes by, followed by a second . . . and before Donn knows it, almost two weeks have passed, leaving him starving, scared, and delirious.

With rainstorms, black bears, and his fear of being lost forever, Donn's journey is a physically, mentally, and emotionally charged story told from the point of view of the boy who lived it.

This title supports the Common Core State Standards.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.22(d)
910L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

My Adventure Begins - First Day

The top of Katahdin was just ahead. We could see it through a break in the cold, misty clouds that whirled about us. Henry wanted to race for it, but I shook my head. Those last hundred yards were heavy ones and, in spite of the stiff, rocky climb, I was cold and shivery.

Just as we reached the summit, the mist closed in around us and shut off our view of the mountain below. I was disappointed. Who wouldn't be, after such a climb? We waited, shivering in the icy blasts that swept around us, for another break in the clouds. Dimly, just like a ghost, we saw a man standing over to the right, on a spur leading to what is called the Knife Edge. He saw us, too, and waved to us, then started towards us.

Henry is the son of a guide and he seemed pleased. "Let's wait here until he comes over," he said, "then we can start back together-that's the best thing to do."

But I was cold and shivery. I never was good at standing cold, anyway. Nights, when Ryan and Tom slept with only a sheet over them , Dad always came in with a blanket for me. I thought of that, and of Dad somewhere back on the trail behind us.

"Let's get out of here now," I said. I remember that my teeth were chattering as I said it, but Henry shook his head. He wanted to wait for the man.

I think Henry was just a little bit nervous and who wouldn't be, with all that big cloud-covered mountain below us and clouds rolling like smoke around us? But Henry was wise. I can see that now. He knewKatahdin.

Iwas nervous, too, and maybe that is why I decided to go right back and join Dad and the boys. Maybe I was sorrythat I had gone on ahead of them. Maybe that had been a foolish thing to do. Such thoughts run through a fellow's head at a time like that. Anyway, they ran through mine and made me more and more anxious to get back to the folks below.

I had on a sweatshirt under my fleece-lined jacket. When I made up my mind to start back, I peeled off the jacket and gave the sweatshirt to Henry. "That'll keep you warm while you're waiting, I said, "But I'm going back, right now. I'll tell Dad you and the man are coming down soon."

Henry said I was foolish and tried to stop me, but I knew I was all right. I guess I thought I knew more than he did, for I only shrugged my shoulders and laughed at him. just then, an extra heavy cloud rolled in around us. I thought of people being lost in clouds and getting off the trail-and maybe that hurried me a little as I pulled up my fleece-lined reefer about my neck and started down. Boy, I can see now what a mistake that was! A fellow is just plain dumb who laughs at people who know more than he does.

The clouds were like gray smoke and shut Henry from me before I had gone a dozen yards. The going was very rough, and the trail wound in and around huge rocks. It hadn't seemed so awfully rough on the way up -- I mean the last hundred yards, but then you climbed slowly-while going down, you could make better time. I hadn't gone far before I noticed that the trail led me up to rocks that I had to climb over like a squirrel. That seemed funny to me, but I went on just the same, because a fellow forgets easily, and I figured going down was different, anyway.

Trail in a mist. I suppose Henry would laugh at me for saying so. He's been over the trail so often. However, I wasn't worried-not just then. I kept looking ahead, expecting to see Dad and the boys break through the cloud at any moment.

Everything looks different in the clouds. You think you see a man and he turns out to be only a rock. It kind of scares a fellow, especially when you are alone and awfully cold.

When I had gone quite a distance over the rocksfar enough, I thought, to be down on the plateauI stopped and looked around. I couldn't see anything that looked like a trail. I couldn't find a single spot of white paint. I thought I must be down on the plateau, but could not be sure. There, are plenty of huge rocks on the plateau, but the trail winds in and out around them. The going is fairly level and the rocks don't bother as long as you are on the trail, but I was in the middle of the worst mess of rocks you can imagine. I began to worry a little. Boy, it's no fun getting off the trail, when the cloud is so thick you can't see a dozen yards ahead!

One thing helped me not to worry too much.

I knew that if Dad and the boys were still on the way up they must be nearing the place where I stood. At least they must be within hearing distance. I shouted several times. Not a sound answered me. My voice seemed hollow. I had a feeling it didn't go far through that heavy cloud. I waited and then I shouted again and again. At last, I just stood and listened for a long time. No answering shout -- nothing but the noise of the wind among the rocks. Boy, I felt funny when I started on.

I couldn't see far on any side of me and I had a feeling I was right on the edge of a great cliff. The way the clouds swirled scared me. The rocks about me looked more like ghosts than rocks, until I tried to climb over them. Besides... Lost on a Mountain in Maine. Copyright © by Joseph Egan. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Since his close encounter with death in the mountains of Maine more than seventy years ago, Donn Fendler has visited countless schools, speaking to eager readers about his journey to civilization. He still receives countless letters from fans inquiring about that time in his life—which he always answers. He carves out months of time to speak to students at many schools about his experiences. Now retired from the U.S. Army, Donn lives half the year in Tennessee, while spending summer and early fall in Maine.

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Lost on a Mountain in Maine 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
HomeSchoolBookReview More than 1 year ago
In this true story, Donn Fendler is a twelve-year-old boy in 1939. He is on an expedition to climb Mt. Katahdin, at 5268 feet the highest peak in the state of Maine, with his father, brothers Tom and Ryan, and guide Henry Condon. Henry and Donn run ahead and meet another climber, Charles Austin, minister with the Church of All Nations in New York City, NY. Donn gets cold and decides to find his own way back to camp rather than wait for the rest. Henry cautions him against doing so and remains with Mr. Austin, but Donn leaves anyway. Unfortunately, a thick, fast-moving fog obscures the path. Donn falls down an embankment that hides him from sight. Then he takes a wrong turn that leaves him alone to wander aimlessly for nine days in the empty mountain wilderness. Will he make it to his camp or be found by the others? This book is Donn's own description of his struggles to survive after being separated from his companions, as told to Joseph B. Egan. For years I saw it advertised in the Christian Book Distributors catalogue and finally decided to purchase it to read as a family read aloud. With no food and no shelter, Donn survives by remembering his Boy Scout skills and by drawing on his faith in himself, his family, and God. His shoes and then his feet were cut to shreds on the rough stone outcroppings. He was tormented by insects, encountered a bear, and tumbled in an icy river. His "dungarees" were impossible to walk in, once wet, and he lost them. He suffered from cold, hunger, loneliness, and hallucinations. Toward the end of his ordeal Donn followed telephone wires and a stream, hoping that both would eventually lead him to what civilization there was in the great woods of Maine. Donn's harrowing story, as told to Joseph Burke Egan, who was an author and I think a journalist, apparently was first published later in 1939 and has been a beloved family and school classic in Maine since that time. Through the years, Fendler himself visited schools and libraries to share his experiences, and generations of Maine children have learned lessons about courage, faith, and will from Lost on a Mountain in Maine. I especially like the way in which Donn emphasizes the fact that he put his trust in God and said his prayers daily for God's protection and deliverance. In 2008, Donn's story wes retold with illustrations by Ben Bishop for a graphic novel entitled Lost Trail: Nine Days Alone in the Wilderness, published by Down East Books. I guess that this all right for a generation that doesn't want to read words, except for a few in a cartoon bubble every now and then, bur prefers just to look at pictures. However, we really enjoyed the original and thought it quite exciting.
RSArts More than 1 year ago
Don was my mother's cousin and he would frequent our house when I was a child and would reluctantly tell us the story of his adventure. Don was not one of lengthy discourse and was anything but verbose. Nevertheless, his ruminations were vivid and scary for a child to hear. It is amazing that he was able to survive despite his run of bad luck throughout his adventure. I enjoyed the book when I was young and have enjoyed it again 50 years later. A great adventure never loses its ability to grip one’s guts and fill them with butterflies, send chills down one’s spine and goosebumps crawling on one’s flesh. Thanks for the memories Uncle Don!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book because I have always been fascinated how people can live off the land and stay alive. I have always wanted to do that some day. A boy named Donn gets lost when he splits from his group going down the mountain. He only drinks some water from a stream and eats some berries for nine days. I think someone who likes adventure books would like this book because Donn gets lost and finds his way out .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I is bored talk to me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy reading short true story. Since the reader knows the happy ending at the onset, there isn't much suspense. The boys training by his father gave him life saving choices when it came to eating and drinkinf safely in the woods. This is a book every person who enjoys hiking should read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Y it end?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Donn Fendler, is a fascinating story.  The way the author describes the adventure Donn has been through is interesting.  Another thing I liked was the pictures that shows the aftermath of being alone in the woods for almost two weeks.  One dislike I had about the story was it was not long enough to really get into the book.  I would encourage readers who like adventure and exciting books.  Although, the book does have spots where it gets wordy and becomes boring for the reader, overall it’s a good book. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
donn fendler got tired of waiting for his father and brother so he decided to find his own way back to camp. He gets lost in the mountain for two weeks with no food and water.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Donn and his camp group is camping in the woods. They follow the Hunt Trail, but Donn got lost. Now he is lost in the woods with no food or water He makes me feel bad because he has no food or water and has live on his own really. I like the part when he found the blanket in a cabin. I was confused with how he was able to survive for the first day and why he did eat the trout. Yes this book makes you want to read more and find out what happens next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i absoultie loved your book it just touched my heart and soul
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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