CHP officials and the Fresno County Sheriff's Office rescued her. Had it not been for a personal locator she was wearing, she says she's not sure she'd be alive.
Tara Steele didn't intend to leave the John Muir Trail by helicopter, but she's glad she was able to leave at all. "I'm so blessed, I am so blessed," she said.
Her dramatic rescue was a case of daughter knows best. "My daughter required that I had some way of communicating with her, so I had a beacon, a personal locator beacon, which it turned out was really important," she said.
Steele used it to activate an SOS alert on her 8th day on the trail. She says she felt wobbly, tingling in her face and couldn't swallow. Tara was having a stroke. "Because she had this device, we knew exactly where she was at," CHP Ofc. Rusty Hotchkiss said.
"I think they went 'oh my God' and went back to base and got a guy willing to come straight down into this little opening to get me," Steele said.
"I knew that landing near her would probably be difficult," Fresno County Sheriff's Office Deputy Pilot Johnny Reyes said.
Rescue video shows what it looked like as Reyes lowered down to rescue Steele.
As Steele was being rescued, this is what she thought: "How amazing it is that technology and people can make this happen," Steele said. "Even if someone told me you're welcome to hike, but you're going to have a stroke I think I probably still would've still chosen to do it because that is a magnificent trail.
"Not denying my body had a traumatic event but knowing I don't have to be stuck in it is really important to me." pic.twitter.com/FP1QHF1xaK— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) August 18, 2016