She spent three nights lost in the Oregon wilderness, relying on moss to keep warm and creek water to stay hydrated. She ate berries and caterpillars, and conjured up images from "Touching the Void," a harrowing tale of survival in the Andes, to help guide her.
And on Tuesday afternoon, Pamela Salant, 28, a teacher in Southeast Portland, was rescued by an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter after she was spotted sitting on a log in Mt. Hood National Forest's Lindsey Creek. She had broken her leg after a 50-foot fall when she went off the trail, and had been propelling herself toward what she hoped would be the Columbia River -- and rescue -- by scooting along on her buttocks.
Her not-so-excellent adventure started on Saturday when Salant was hiking with her boyfriend, Aric Essig, in Mt. Hood National Forest. The two had parted company shortly after noon, after dropping off their gear near Bear Lake, for what was expected to be a short while.
"I walked all around the lake expecting to meet up with her at some point, and I walked all the way back to the camp and just didn't see her," Essig told ABC affiliate KATU.
Sunday morning, when Essig had not seen or heard from his girlfriend, he called the sheriff's office to report her missing, igniting a massive search of the area that included "30 ground searchers and dog teams and a lot of experienced searchers," according to Matt English, detective and PIO with Hood River Sheriff's Office.
Salant, meanwhile, was lost in one of the roughest areas of the Oregonian wilderness, known for its steep drops and thick vegetation, right where the Cascade Mountains meet the Columbia River Gorge. She had no cellphone with her.
She was scooting along Lindsey Creek, hoping to reach the Columbia River. She was unable to reach the Columbia but ended up in a steep drainage area about a mile and a half from her initial destination.
Sheriff Joe Wampler said the helicopter crew spotted Salant sitting on a log in the creek, waving, and sent a medical rescue helicopter from Salem to get her out. The Sherriff also said that while she would have been easier to find if she had stayed near her initial fall sight, she did the next best thing by following a body of water.
Salant was airlifted to Legacy Emmanuel Medical Center, where doctors said she was in serious condition. She remains resilient. According to English, "She's a bit beat up, but she's talking and coherent."