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Oregon hiker spends 3 nights in forest after near-fatal fall

August 9, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
An Oregon hiker says her will to live is what kept her going after surviving a 50-foot fall. She suffered broken bones and had to spend three nights in a national forest.

Pamela Salant went on a camping trip with her boyfriend in the Mount Hood National Forest on July 30. When she went to look for a campsite, she got lost and fell.

Her boyfriend called for help when she didn't return. Salant couldn't walk, so she had to crawl along a creek drainage hoping to reach the Columbia River.

The 28-year-old crawled more than a mile from where she fell, staying close to a creek. She says in order to survive she had to eat whatever was available.

"I was trying caterpillars and I tried a bite of a slug," said Salant. "I don't know. I was just like, it looked tasty- it was plump and juicy. It looked really tasty but it was not tasty."

Salant was only wearing a tank top and shorts when she got lost, so she covered herself with moss in order to keep warm.

The Portland nursery school art teacher was rescued Aug. 2 by the crew of an Oregon Army National Guard helicopter. She thanked her rescuers and all the volunteers who looked for her and her boyfriend.

Salant hopes to leave the hospital soon and says she will return to hiking. However, she says next time she will look at a map and be acquainted with her surroundings.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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