Miyuki Harwood, 62, knew the only way she would survive her fall from a mountain cliff was to get to water. So she crawled over two days – with broken bones in both legs and her back – toward the sound of a rushing creek.
Hardwood survived nine days with just a light jacket for warmth and a water filter that allowed her to drink from a creek. Fresno County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team found her on Aug. 29, 19 miles east of Courtright Reservoir, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. She was airlifted to the only Level 1 trauma center in a 15,000-square-mile region at Community Regional Medical Center, where doctors treated her for a left broken leg, broken right ankle and compression fracture in her lower back.
Hardwood, of Folsom, was an experienced backpacker hiking with a group from the Sierra Club on an 8-day trip. She was heading back alone to their camp on Black Cap Mountain when she fell. She talked about her ordeal through her sister-in-law Barb Hartwig.