Forest

By Bryant-Jon Anteola

Jolly Bose’s phone battery had deceived her, and right about when she’d lost her sense of direction.

Out in the middle of the Sierra National Forest amid snowy conditions and the temperature only getting colder into the night, Bose was convinced her the battery had been at 20% just a short while ago.

But when Bose went to call for help — after realizing she had no clue where she was or where she needed to go — her phone read 8% battery.

And then, without warning, the phone just shut down. The battery was dead.

Bose had never made that emergency call and now she was lost in the wilderness with no working phone, no food and no sign of anyone else.

How was Bose going to survive?

She did: The 49-year-old mother spent two nights in the Sierra snow, relying on smart thinking, spirituality and even her yoga background to come out of the dire situation relatively unscathed.

“For 48 hours, I kept shouting, ‘Help! Help! Help!’” Bose said. “I was praying that God keep me alive for the sake of my daughter. ...

“I did not give up hope. I did not have any fear.”

Bagging peaks in the Sierra

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It was supposed to be a quick Sunday hike to Mount Givens before heading back to the Bay Area.

Bose, a Palo Alto resident, had joined a group of fairly experienced hikers for a day trip to the area east of Huntington Lake.

As a “peak bagger,” Bose simply wanted to get the top of a mountain to add to her collection of summits reached.

The eight-mile hike was supposed to take four hours.

After reaching the top of Mount Givens in good time, some of the group members, including Bose, decided to hike to the top of nearby Mt. Ian Campbell before returning home.

But while trying to reach the second mountain top, Bose got separated from her group while on the ridge that sits east of White Bark Vista and the Dusy Ershim Trail.

“Somehow I made a mistake,” Bose said. “I went 10 miles the opposite direction that I’d (come from). I was deep in the forest.”

Bose checked her cell phone to see if she could make a call.

Her phone’s battery was dead. So was her Apple watch battery.

“I tried calling 911,” Bose said. “Because it was cold, the battery couldn’t sustain.

“The battery was 20% but then it was single digits and then it was off.”

Bose turned her attention to finding some sort of shelter to help her get through a cold and snowy night in the forest.

She first trying settling under a big rock. And then a tree. Neither really worked.

Then by chance, Bose came across an outhouse.

There was no running water inside. But it was clean.

And most importantly, it provided Bose with some shelter even if the door didn’t shut close all the way.

“It felt like a blessing that I was lucky to find the bathroom,” Bose said. “I didn’t have any gear. ... Didn’t have any food. I had about two liters of water.

“It was supposed to be a short hike so I was unprepared.”

Yoga exercises in the wilderness

As the night got darker, Bose tried concentrating on staying warm inside the outhouse.

Cold wind occasionally crept through the cracks.

And the sound of the wind on an otherwise silent night made it sound like someone was whispering nearby, Bose said.

Bose, who did not have a blanket or a sleeping bag since it she was supposed to be on a day trip, only had the four layers of clothes she’d worn, including a sweater and jacket.

But the clothing and the outhouse proved to be enough as Bose said she warm by positioning her body in certain yoga poses and blowing out air when her body was curled.

Bose also just tried to meditate the get through the night as temperatures dropped around 15 degrees.

As an occasional yoga instructor, Bose was well-versed in how certain body postures and meditation can help maintain warmth and a focus.

“I was not sleeping,” Bose said. “I was dozing off.”

Bose also believed that, as long as she had the outhouse as shelter, she could also potentially survive a week in the wilderness without food or water.

“For me, I can live without water or food for a week,” Bose said. “I did meditation. It’s kind like mentally, you’re eating. Just not with your body.

“I’d done it (before). So at no moment did I have any fear.”

Searching for missing person in forest

By Monday morning, Bose said she could tell a search-and-rescue team was looking for after seeing a plane fly above repeatedly.

A total of 35 deputies and volunteers with the Fresno County Sheriff Office’s Search and Rescue Team were deployed to search for Bose around the clock.

Among the devices used to help in the search were drones, helicopters, airplanes horses, Jeeps and ATVs in an effort to assist ground search teams.

“A lot of times it depends on how quickly we get notified,” sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti said. “If we get a good starting point of where they were last seen, we might be able to track them down a little quicker.

“The longer somebody is missing, the more worrisome it becomes, and the less likely that we’re going to find them with a good outcome.”

Bose tried to increase her chances of being found by writing her name on stickered labels that were in her fanny pack and posting them on various signs or trees.

She also made an arrow shape in the snow, in attempt to get the attention of any aircraft in the area.

There was no luck Monday.

But on Tuesday morning, Bose decided to attach her red jacket onto a pole and wave it like a flag.

And it worked as a helicopter took notice and eventually landed in an area near Bose to rescue her.

“When I was finally spotted, tears came out,” Bose said. “I cried tears of joy. ... Then I hugged him (the responding officer).”

Not traumatized

Bose said she never felt worried about being lost or nervous throughout.

“I am not traumatized,” Bose said. “I’m strong mentally.”

Still, she had her moments while waiting to be found.

Like when Bose prayed during her second night of sleeping in the forest.

“God, you have to keep me alive for the sake of my daughter,” Bose recalled praying. “My daughter is 15. Once she’s 18, we’re going to do backpacking in Europe.”

Botti applauded Bose for maintaining her poise, and for helping the search effort by remaining in the same area, and providing indicators to help find her easier.

“We want people to kind of find a spot and hunker down so that we can hone in on a spot,” Botti said. “And her spiritual way about her just getting creative to try to stay warm and thinking about her family, it kept her mind in the right place to say I’m not going to give up.

“That’s what we see a lot of time with (missing people). They panic. They’re looking for a way out. ... She was able to keep her mind right.”

Source : https://www.sacbee.com/news/california/article255236786.html

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