MODESTO — A Central Valley woman is describing how what had started as a pleasant walk one morning earlier this month in Yosemite National Park turned into a three-day ordeal.
Jessica Rose Garcia said she decided to go for a long walk on Oct. 6 after an orientation meeting for her new job at the Wawona Hotel in the park.
Garcia, 23, told the Modesto Bee (http://bit.ly/S6sbrd ) that after walking for more than three hours, she slipped on a wet rock and fell off a cliff, landing 35 feet below in a creek bed, between the cliff wall and a boulder.
"I was screaming as I fell, and I tried to grab onto something, but you can't grab onto rock," she said.
The fall broke a bone in her back and she suffered badly pulled ligaments in her right leg, Garcia told the newspaper.
Because of her injuries, and large boulders blocking her path, she was unable to climb out of the area, she said.
During her ordeal, the only food Garcia had to eat was a lollipop, while the only liquids to drink were the water from a water bottle she had with her.
She did have her work-issued jacket, which rescuers told her probably saved her from hypothermia during Yosemite's chilly nights.
When a search was mounted and rescuers finally found her, Garcia was lifted out of the creek bed on a rescue basket, then taken to a hospital in Fresno.
She later underwent more than 12 hours of surgery, with surgeons replacing the broken bone in her lower back with a metal rod. Garcia is also expected to have to undergo six months of physical therapy.