A real estate broker, lost, desperate and in fear of death in a California desert park, penned a heartbreaking farewell to his family on his hat -- only to be rescued during what he thought were his last moments.
"[He wrote] that he loved us and he wanted us to know and he said, 'You know that I don't think I'm going to make it. I'm not going to make it out of here. I made a wrong turn and don't have enough water,'" Edward Rosenthal's wife of 21 years, Nicole said.
Nearly a week before, Rosenthal, 64, had just closed a lucrative deal on a Los Angeles landmark, Clifton's Cafeteria, and decided to celebrate by taking what he thought would be an afternoon hike in the Joshua Tree National Park desert.
But the afternoon hike turned into a six-day nightmare when Rosenthal got lost. Search teams on horseback and in helicopters combed the area, but, as time dragged on, did not expect to find Rosenthal alive.
Rosenthal was missing during one of California's worst heat waves in years. It reached 110 degrees in the desert.
When rescuers finally did locate Rosenthal, he was nearly incapacitated.
"I had to carry him to the helicopter and put him in the backseat," rescuer Bob Stine said. "He couldn't walk on his own at all."
In addition to the message to his family, Rosenthal inked his last will and testament on his hat, apparently fully expecting to die in the desert.
"He chronicled every day and when he ran out of water," Nicole said. "He put it all on his hat."
Found Hiker Expected to Make Full Recovery
He also planned his funeral and asked that Persian food be served if they had a party to celebrate his life, Nicole said, according to The Associated Press.
"He had certain poems he wanted read. A vacation that we had planned, who I should take in his place, that I should still go on the vacation. Some of his clients that he wanted me to thank. It was very heartfelt," she said.
When he was eventually found, Rosenthal's first question was about his 20-year-old daughter -- "Where's Hillary?" -- his wife said.
Now Rosenthal is in intensive care with his family by his side, and is expected to make a full recovery.
"He looks good," Hillary said. "He was really tan. I wish I was that tan."