Woman who got lost in a Hawaii forest says she wasn’t on drugs

‘My heart was telling me go left, go right’: Embarrassed yoga instructor, 35, who got herself lost for 17 days while hiking in a Hawaii forest says she wasn’t on drugs or drunk when she got disorientated – and regrets not taking her cell phone or a compass

  • Amanda Eller, 35, spoke to reporters on Maui on Tuesday – days after her rescue 
  • She survived more than two weeks in forest by drinking water and eating plants 
  • Eller denied on Tuesday that alcohol or drugs played a role in her getting lost 
  • She said she had a superfood smoothie and protein bar before her May 8 hike 

Amanda Eller, the hiker who went missing for two weeks in a Hawaiian forest, denies that drugs or alcohol played a part in her getting lost.

Eller, 35, was responding to a question from a reporter who asked if she took any mind-altering substance before going out on the hike.

She replied that she had a superfood smoothie and an RXBAR protein bar, but no coffee or tea, according to KHON-TV.

‘I definitely didn’t have any drugs or alcohol or anything like that,’ Eller told reporters on Tuesday outside of the hospital on Maui where she was receiving treatment.

‘Anybody that knows me and knows my spiritual journey in the last few years knows that I get high off of life, and I get high off of people and heart.’

Amanda Eller, the 35-year-old yoga instructor who went missing for more than two weeks in a Hawaiian forest, says drugs and alcohol played no part in her getting lost

Eller said she was not paying attention to social media, where a number of theories have been put forward as to how she got lost for 17 days.

‘Everybody can have their little theories,’ she said.

The yoga instructor from Maryland says she fell to the ground and started bawling when a rescue helicopter spotted her in a forest where she had survived by eating plants and drinking stream water for two weeks.

Eller told reporters on Maui that other helicopters had failed to see her earlier in her ordeal.

She was rescued on Friday.

Eller says she set out for a 3-mile hike in the Makawao Forest Reserve on May 8.

She didn’t take a cellphone and didn’t have a compass. She says her heart was telling her which way to turn.

‘I don’t really know what happened,’ she said.

‘All I can say is that I got out of my car, it’s like, you know, I have a strong sense of internal guidance, whatever you want to call that, a voice, spirit — everybody has a different name for it, heart.’

Eller’s friend Javier Cantellops (pictured with Sarah Haynes, who helped coordinate the search effort) was in the helicopter when he spotted her waving up at him near the Kailua reservoir

But when she tried to go back the way she came, that path didn’t lead her to her car.

‘My heart was telling me, “Walk down this path, go left,” Great.

‘“Go right”. It was so strong – “Go left, go right” – I’m like, great, this is so strong that obviously when I turn around and go back to my car it will be just as strong when I go back, but it wasn’t.’

Eller said she followed boar tracks through the forest. One night, she said she sought shelter in a wild boar den.

‘This is the Chinese New Year, this is the year of the boar, I’m a boar,’ she said.

‘So I’m like finding myself sleeping in boar’s home.

‘And they were like trailblazing for me.’

When asked what advice she would give to hikers, she said: ‘Be over-prepared.’

‘I should have had a cellphone with me,’ she said.

‘There’s a reason we carry them all the time.’

Eller said that she normally packs food, water, and other supplies when she hikes.

But for this particular excursion, she decided not to pack anything.

‘It’s a friendly jungle, there’s not much that’ll get ya. But still, be prepared.’ 

Eller, 35, had gone missing in the Makawao Forest Reserve on May 8 after she went hiking without her cell phone. A helicopter spotted her near a waterfall on Friday. 

Cantellops said the helicopter only had five minutes left of fuel before it had to go back to the heliport when Eller suddenly came into view. They are pictured here during the rescue 

‘That moment will live down in the depths of my soul forever,’ said Cantellops (pictured left with Eller and fellow volunteer Chris Berquist while she called her parents after being rescued) 

Eller’s friend Javier Cantellops was in the helicopter when he spotted her waving up at him near the Kailua reservoir.   

Cantellops said the helicopter only had five minutes left of fuel before it had to go back to the heliport when Eller suddenly came into view. 

‘That moment will live down in the depths of my soul forever,’ he told the Today show on Tuesday. 

‘We’re coming up this waterfall and I look down and she appears out of the woods. It can only be described as magic.’  

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