Angels in the Wilderness: The True Story of One Woman’s Survival Against All Odds
Solo backpacker Amy Racina fell sixty feet onto solid granite near the remote Tehipite Valley in California’s Kings Canyon National Park in the Sierra Nevada during a 16-day solo hiking trip. In this gripping first-person account, Amy tells how she survived four days and nights in the wilderness with both legs badly broken and no one else around, clinging tenaciously to life, using all the spiritual tools and inner strengths she could muster. Battling pain, fear and exhaustion, she pulled herself along with her hands, and refused to give up even when her chances of salvation were remote.
The book chronicles her miraculous and timely rescue and describes her dramatic airlift out of the canyon, swinging helplessly from two straps, dangling fearfully beneath a helicopter high above the ravine where she had lain.
Racina recounts her struggles with multiple surgeries and extensive physical rehabilitation, as she fought to walk again despite her severe injuries. In flashbacks, Amy also tells of her rugged introduction to wilderness backpacking, her “trip of a lifetime” up to the day of her fall, and her dual passions for solo hiking and traveling light. She also describes the deeper reflections that shaped her life after the fall, and concludes with her triumphant return to the wilderness.
This amazing tale of despair, courage and hope speaks of incredible strength and heartbreaking weakness as Amy details what she believed might be the last days of her life. It is a memory of the darkest of times and an affirmation of miracles. Her story is a celebration of a life almost snatched away, of survival against the odds.
This compelling true story of a life-threatening backpacking incident in 2003 is finally available in paperback. It includes an update on events since the book's 2005 publication. We believe every serious backpacker and hiker should read this riveting and important story of survival.
The paperback edition of this book is out of print and out of stock. We do have about a dozen copies of the first printing of the original hardcover edition, which was printed at $24.95, at a special reduced price.
“A profound true story of human courage and the will to live.”
2005. 220 pages, 6-1/8" x 9-1/4", full-color dust jacket, 25 photographs, 2 maps.
“Every day is a good day for Amy Racina. It wasn't always that way, but crashing 60 feet into a granite ravine changed her perspective.”
“Her story is by any measure a triumph of will.”
“As a story of human courage and persistence, it is unparalleled. As a parable that challenges us to find the best within ourselves, it is remarkable. As an honest and beautifully written story, it is searing. And as a reminder that in the most desperate of circumstances, grace, humor, wisdom and the gentle touch of God’s spirit are available, it is profound.”
“A profound true story of human courage and the will to live: especially fresh and absorbing.”
“Chock full of penetrating truth.”
“This book is suffused with glowing honesty and wonder, bracing as mountain air.”
“This is the best book I have read in a very long time. Amy Racina is an exceptionally fine writer and story-teller.”
“You will laugh, you will cry, but from the first page, this book will hold you, and not let you go. Searing and intense, this is an honest and beautifully written story.”
Here’s two brief excerpts:
The land itself is my friend. Nature speaks to me in a way that humankind cannot. As I walk, the simplicity of the trailside ways comforts me. The crisp clarity of the mountain air heals me; the high sweet light glistening on white slabs of granite lends me its radiance and restores to me the light of my own essence.
My spirit exults, bringing my body and soul into perfect focus. My heart expands. I am like my sleeping bag, stuffed too long in a sack, and let out at last. Up above timberline, single pine trees quiver in the relentless brightness, tall and strong, as I feel myself to be. The wilderness touches the pure high note that sings forth the harmony of my own spirit.
- from Chapter 15: “The Lure of the Solo Experience”
“We’ve rescued a lot of people,” says Debbie... the foremost rescue ranger in the National Park Service. “But rarely anyone as badly injured as Amy, and never anyone as happy.” Of course I am happy. I am going to live. I had not expected it to be so.
- from Chapter 21: “ Rescue ”
The Table of Contents:
Books and Maps on Related Topics:
Notebooks From the Emerald Triangle by A Novel by Bill Bradd
Mount Whitney; Mountain Lore from the Whitney Store, 2nd Edition by Doug Thompson & Elisabeth Newbold
The Donner Party: Weathering the Storm by Mark McLaughlin
The Other Side; On the Road in South America by Tom Reed
Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons: Bishop to Lone Pine by Sharon Giacomazzi
Sierra Nevada Topographic Map by Imus Geographics
Exploring Eastern Sierra Canyons: Sonora Pass to Pine Creek by Sharon Giacomazzi
The California Field Atlas by Written & Illustrated by Obi Kaufmann
Gold Fever, Part Three: The Path to Civil War by Ken Salter
Eastern Sierra Hot Springs by George J. Williams III
Mammoth Area Rock Climbs, 4th Edition; The Climbing Guide to the Eastern Sierra — North by Marty Lewis
Monterey Bay Map by Bluewater Maps
The Essential Geography of the United States of America by Imus Geographics
The Hiker's hip pocket Guide to Sonoma County, 3rd edition by Bob Lorentzen
Field Guide to Manzanitas: California, North America, and Mexico by Michael Kauffmann, Tom Parker and Michael Vasey; Photographs by Jeff Bisbee