Sitting in a wheelchair as she was being released from the hospital on Monday, Kyndall Jack said she hallucinated much of the time during her four days lost in a southern California forest before she was rescued by sheriff’s officials.
Jack, 18, spoke out for the first on Monday about her ordeal in Trabuco Canyon in Orange County. She recalled eating “dirt and rocks” and trying to drink water from a straw, which turned out to be a tree branch. She thought she was getting eaten by a python at one point.
“I thought I was in a big dream,” said Jack, outside UC Irvine Medical Center where she was being discharged. “The last thing I remember is fighting off the animal."
“I saw animals, but they ended up being branches,” she added.
When she reconnected with 19-year-old Nicholas Cendoya, who was rescued Wednesday night, she said the two tried to figure out some of the details of their ordeal.
“We tried to figure out what was happening,” she said. “But we just told each other we were in different dreams.”
As for Jack's rescue on a cliffside, she just recalled “scooting down a cliff.”
Jack suffered cuts and bruises on her limbs and what she described as frostbite on one hand.
She showed reporters how difficult it was to move her fingers on the affected hand, which she said would take a few more weeks to heal.
The two brought a few bottles of water on their hike but no other supplies.
Jack cautioned others to be more prepared than they were.
“Bring lots of water,” she said, adding the duo also wished they had taken a flashlight with them. “Just stay on the trail,” Jack said. “We didn't stay on the trail and that's how we got lost.”
She said they had a lighter, but she dropped it and they were in darkness.
Jack said she and Cendoya were only friends and had only hung out with each other for the second time.
She did not recall how the two got separated. Jack said she had only been hiking a couple of times before.
“We wanted to touch the clouds. That's why we went up there,” Jack said. “We just wanted to get to the top and we finally realized it was too dark to get to the top.”
When they dialed 911 for help, “I started getting an anxiety attack and threw up,” Jack said. “I just went in and out of consciousness after the 911 call.”
In the hallucinatory state, Jack recalled people calling out her name, prompting her to respond, “Shut up, I'm running out of air ... I just thought it was a big joke.”
Jack hoped she would soon meet with her rescuers so she could thank them in person. A reserve sheriff's deputy who suffered head, neck and chest injuries while trying to rescue Jack has been moved out of the intensive care unit and been upgraded to fair condition, said Gail Krause of the Orange County Sheriff's Department.
“He is in good spirits and we anticipate he will be released from the hospital this week,'' Krause said.
Cendoya was previously released from Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo.