Rescued Yosemite employee will walk again

pguerra@modbee.comOctober 15, 2012 

— A Yosemite National Park employee who spent three days stranded in the wilderness got some good news after extensive back surgery: Doctors say it's likely Jessica Rose Garcia will walk again.

"She's able to move her legs," Darlene Cunningham, Garcia's aunt, said Monday morning. "She's getting better."

Garcia was scheduled to be moved out of intensive care Monday at the Fresno hospital where she's been cared for since her rescue Oct. 9. Garcia, 23, went for a walk Oct. 6 after moving to the Wawona area of Yosemite National Park, where she had landed a job at a hotel.

The Ceres resident had spent the summer working in Yosemite Valley, where she discovered a love of nature and hiking. Searchers started looking for Garcia when she didn't report for her first day of work Oct. 7. She last had been seen Oct. 6 after orientation.

Rescuers found her Oct. 9 roughly two miles away. Garcia suffered a broken leg and pelvis, and spinal cord damage. She underwent a daylong surgery Thursday. Cunningham said Garcia has had trouble talking after the removal of a breathing tube, but she's improving steadily.

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