JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (CNN) — A California man who got stranded in Joshua Tree National Park for 40 hours is already looking forward to his next hike.
Robert Ringo was hiking near Quail Mountain when fell and broke his leg, CNN affiliate KESQ reported. Crying out for help, Ringo started recording his near-death experience.
“I started trying to at least turnover so I could get onto my back,” he told the affiliate. “And when I did, it was just unbelievable pain.”
Ringo, who had shared his location with his son before he left last Thursday, knew there wouldn’t be service in the mountains.
“That’s just something that I always do,” he said.
He brought two liters of water with him, but that was no match for the desert heat.
Temperatures at the nearest weather station that weekend had highs in the 90’s.
In the video, Ringo calls for help and says, “It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever experienced no saliva.”
From the rocky terrain where he fell, he could see some juniper bushes above him and wondered if they were edible.
“I somehow scooted up this place, ate some juniper berries, (and) saw what I thought might be flowers but they were all dry so I wasn’t going to eat them,” he said. “And then came up on this flat plateau.”
He told KESQ that his family started looking for him on Friday. It wasn’t until Saturday morning that he finally heard the search and rescue helicopter above him.
“I never got to a place where I thought ‘I’m not going to make this,'” he said. “I just had a confidence and a faith.”
The Joshua Tree Search and Rescue team brought him to the Desert Regional Medical Center, where he had surgery on his leg and is expected to recover.
“I’m just so grateful,” he said. “Because if I had never been found, it would’ve been devastating for my family.”
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