River Dave doesn't believe he can return to being a hermit

A New Hampshire man who lived off-the-grid as a hermit seems to have ended his days. "River Dave," who lost his cabin in the woods after almost three decades of living on land he had been ordered to leave, said he doesn’t believe he can go back to his old lifestyle.

River Dave doesn't believe he can return to being a hermit

David Lidstone stated that he doesn't see how he can return to being a hermit again because society won't allow it.

Lidstone, 81, said even if he could rebuild his cabin, which burned down last week, "I would have people coming every weekend, so I just can't get out of society anymore. I have kept too much of my life secret and I've developed relationships that continue to grow.

Lidstone was a logger who cut his firewood and grew food in the woods near the Merrimack River in Canterbury. He built the cabin initially with his wife. However, he claims that they are still married.

He stated that he is not grieving the loss in isolation.

Lidstone said that he had been trying to avoid certain things and these were the things he needed in his life. He was a drifter from his family. "I was raised not to be hugged, kissed, or have any close contact.

"I was once asked by someone if I loved my wife. I... I have never loved anyone in my entire life. That shocked me. That's why I became a hermit. "Now I see the love I have been given that I didn't know existed."

Lidstone declined further comment on his relationship to his family. Two of his sons told the AP that they hadn't spoken to their father in a while. His daughter didn't respond to a message asking for comment.

Lidstone was sentenced to a year in prison for civil contempt. He was informed that he would be released if the cabin was left empty. This was after a dispute over property rights dating back to 2016. Leonard Giles, an 86-year old landowner from South Burlington in Vermont wanted Lidstone to leave the property.

Since 1963, the same family has owned the property, which is mainly used for timber harvests.

Lidstone claimed that an owner prior to him had given his word years back that he could live there. However, he had never received any written documentation. Later, he denied that he had ever been on the property.

Both sides reached an agreement Wednesday to allow Lidstone to pick up his chickens, cats, and other possessions from the site. Some items were given to police for safekeeping. Judge Andrew Schulman granted Lidstone permission to hire a surveyor for his "peace and mind" as he believes he is not on Giles’ land.

A fire destroyed the cabin on Aug. 4, hours after Lidstone defended himself during a court hearing. The judge released him from jail the following day, stating that he would be less likely to return to "this specific place in the forest" now that the cabin was destroyed.

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