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Lost Hawaii Hiker Doesn't Recommend Sleeping in Mud

'It's very cold and it doesn't warm up'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 29, 2019 6:03 AM CDT
Rescued hiker, Amanda Eller, center, in a wheelchair, is accompanied by her mother, Julia Eller, right, holding her crutches, and security guard, Arman Molina, to a press conference at Maui Memorial Hospital,...   (Craig T. Kojima/Honolulu Star-Advertiser via AP)
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(Newser) – "Follow your heart" is often good advice—but so is "bring a compass." Amanda Eller, the Hawaii woman rescued after 17 days lost in dense forest, shared more details of her ordeal Tuesday, and confirmed that she had brought neither a cellphone nor a compass on what she thought was going to be a three-mile hike, the AP reports. "I'm normally an overpreparer" who brings food, water, and sunscreen, she said. "Just that day I did not." She said she felt a "voice" guiding her deeper into the Makawao Forest Reserve, reports People. "My heart was telling me, 'Walk down this path, go left,' Great. 'Go right.' It was so strong," she said. "I’m like, great, this is so strong that obviously when I turn around and go back to my car it will be just as strong when I go back, but it wasn't."

The 35-year-old said that after meditating, "I tried all these different paths and then I was like 'oh shoot, these are not bike paths, these are not walking paths, these are boar paths,'" CBS reports. She said she ate insects and plants to survive and found herself sleeping in boar's dens—"they were like trailblazing for me" —as well as on rocks and even in mud. "Which I don't recommend ever doing," she said. "It's very cold and it doesn't warm up." She described the "journey" as "extremely spiritual" and "an opportunity to overcome fear of everything." Eller, who suffered ankle injuries and dehydration, thanked her rescuers. "You guys are the heroes, I am not the hero," she said. "I am just the girl sitting here healing my ankles." (Her father's tech savvy helped rescuers find her.)

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