The Medford teenager who survived two bitterly cold nights on a Maine mountain by building a snow cave returned home Wednesday afternoon and is feeling "tired and overwhelmed," his family said.
Nicholas Joy was welcomed home by family and well-wishers who cheered when he entered his mother's house just before 2 p.m. He was released from a Maine hospital Tuesday morning.
The 17-year-old was carrying a plastic bag containing Styrofoam take-out food containers. A neighbor also brought by some food.
"Nick is just tired and overwhelmed ... but he's perfectly fine," said his sister, Alysson Atherton.
Joy wasn't ready to talk about the two nights he became lost on Sugarloaf Mountain, his family said, and he was rushed inside the house by his mother as about a dozen reporters and photographers tried to ask him questions.
The house had been decorated with multiple signs and balloons that read "Welcome home."
Speaking to reporters, his mother Donna said that she didn't want to talk about the steps he took on the mountain to survive other than to say that "he just did what he had to do."
"It's truly amazing that he did what he did to stay alive and to try to find a way to be found and he was found," she said.
Maine Warden Service authorities said Joy built a snow cave to shield himself from the elements of the mountain after he apparently became lost while skiing with his family last weekend. He was last seen by his father Sunday afternoon and was picked up by a snowmobile rider Tuesday morning.
His mother praised Joseph Paul, the snowmobile rider who came upon her son and drove him to emergency personnel.
"He got picked up by an angel," she said.
Follow Michael Naughton on Twitter @metrobosmike.