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'What a wonderful birthday gift': Vancouver mushroom hunter, 75, found alive after 3 nights lost in forest

Jung VanAtta became lost on Saturday and spent three nights alone in the wilderness.

STEVENSON, Wash. — A mushroom picker from Vancouver who got lost in Skamania County on Saturday was found alive Tuesday afternoon.

Jung VanAtta was found in the Woodard Creek drainage area around 3:35 p.m. Rescue teams are bringing her to safety and report that her condition is "stable," according to the Skamania County Sheriff's Office. 

"The outcome is what we wanted and it doesn't always happen but we are so grateful," said Sue Wong, VanAtta's daughter. "It's her 75th birthday - what a wonderful birthday gift."

The family got to see VanAtta briefly before she was taken to the hospital. 

"She's got some scratches but she has such an indomitable spirit," Wong said. "She said she would sing songs and keep hitting those sticks and keep moving."

VanAtta, 74, was picking mushrooms with another person on property near 572 Beacon Highlands Road near Skamania on Saturday. The pickers returned to their car around 10 a.m. when VanAtta decided to go back and pick more mushrooms, deputies said. She planned to return within an hour but she did not make it back to the car.

Family and friends searched for VanAtta and called the sheriff’s office later that afternoon.

The Skamania County Sheriff's Office had been searching for VanAtta since Saturday night. This morning they found a footprint leading in the direction they found her.

"They located her deep in the Woodard Creek Canyon," said detective Jason Schultz with Skamania County Sheriff's Office. "A faint cry for help was all that was heard as they were investigating... It's so thick that had she not been able to respond or had they not yelled at that moment that they walked by, they may have missed her."

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