A missing hiker found injured and dehydrated after two days in the Yosemite wilderness is expected to be released from the hospital today, much to the credit of her family.
Ann Lory, 60, of Foresta, was found Monday morning by a group of family and friends while a full search was being done by the National Park Service and search and rescue teams elsewhere.
She had a head wound, broken shoulder blade, four broken ribs, some mildly broken vertebrae and couldn't even lift her head she was so weak, according to her brother, Ken Manly.
Manly was one of a group of about 10 family members who found her collapsed in the brush near Highway 140.
He spoke to her Wednesday night and said "she sounded really good," and that she was expected to be released today.
Manly recalled the story, which he said is "the most unbelievable thing you could imagine."
Lory, an avid hiker, had left alone Saturday morning for a hike near her Foresta home. She set out before some of her visiting relatives woke up.
Her sons, visiting for Thanksgiving, didn't think much of it until she hadn't returned by dusk, Manly said.
"Then I got there late Saturday night and we searched until 1 a.m. in the area she was last seen," Manly said.
They searched Sunday morning again until rescue crew officials asked them to stay out of the area.
"It confuses the dogs and the helicopter (crew)," Manly said.
In addition to dog teams and a helicopter, 70-plus search and rescue personnel aided in the hunt.
Many more friends and family arrived Sunday for help and support, until there was a group of about 25, Manly said.
They split into two groups, and some stayed home to "man the phones." The family members set out Monday morning to search places outside the main search area.
"We did our best to stay out of the rangers' way, but we weren't just going to sit by the sideline. It was unspoken - everybody knew the severity of the situation. One day out is bad. Two days out is really bad," Manly said.
A family friend, Doug Martin, suggested a landmark to look near, "Kat Pinnacle," which is a rock column that attracts rock climbers. It's near Old Coulterville Road, just north of Highway 140, and has an access from above via Highway 120, around where Lory was believed to be and where the main search was taking place.
It took the group about an hour just to get a few hundred yards up to the pinnacle because the terrain was so difficult.
"She could've been 10 feet away and we wouldn't have seen her, it was so thick," Manly said.
Manly, Martin and Lory's niece Emily Quail waited and rested ahead of the others when it happened.
"We heard a faint 'hello.' It was from a different direction and with a different tone," as the others calling out to meet up, Manly said.
"She said, 'I haven't had water for three days,' " and Quail ran and found Lory at a rock, her hair matted with dried blood.
"Everything went crazy," Manly said of that moment. "The emotions were incredible - laughter, crying, the full gamut of emotions."
She was flown by helicopter to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. She's made a great recovery, according to Manly.
Lory was believed to have lost her balance and fallen over 10 feet. She waited for a day and then tried to hike out herself Monday morning, Manly said.
"It's an incredible story of her strength and tenacity and then of a family not quitting," he said.
"You know, my dad used to say, 'You haven't failed until you quit,' and we didn't quit," Manly said.
Manly gave credit to all his family and friends and to the professional search and rescue crews.
"We're having a great Thanksgiving now, so much to be thankful for. It ended up being a great experience. Though my sister might not say the same right now," he joked.
Manly reassured that Lory was OK and had been walking the halls of the hospital already on her own.
But the doctor had said she likely would not have survived another night, Manly said.
"I'm not the most religious guy, but something definitely happened up there on that mountain," he said.