FRESNO, Calif. – Miyuki Harwood, who was lost in the rugged Sierra Nevada east of Fresno, Calif., for nine days before she was found Saturday, survived with no food and only a water filter that allowed her to drink from a creek, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said Saturday.
Harwood, 62, was found in a remote area of the Sierra National Forest after she used a whistle to get the attention of a search and rescue team looking for her.
Harwood’s family said Sunday that she is recovering from surgery to set the broken bones on her lower left leg.
To survive, Harwood crawled for about two days from where she was injured to a creek where she could scoop water into a bottle with a filter inside.
She had “very minimal” supplies because the group she was hiking with was only supposed to hike for the afternoon, Mims said. “She had a base camp with a tent and a lot of supplies, but what she took with her was just enough for a day hike into the Sierra Nevada mountains.”
Harwood was hiking with a group from the Sierra Club when she became separated from them in the area of Horsehead Lake, about 100 miles northeast of Fresno.
Harwood’s friend, Curtis Hendrickson, said it was her first time hiking with the group. He said she did not know any of her fellow hikers before the trip.
He said Harwood is known for hiking solo and described her as “a very knowledgeable, experienced backpacker.”
She was in good spirits but exhausted when she was admitted at a Fresno hospital, her family said.
“Miyuki desires, above all else, uninterrupted rest and quiet,” they said. “The best way to express your care and concern is to be patient and delay all means of contacting her.”
More than 50 search and rescue personnel who helped search for Harwood were safely airlifted from the area Sunday, the sheriff’s office said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.