BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — A Charlotte hiker returned home for the first time since being stranded on a rugged Blowing Rock trail last weekend for more than 30 hours.
Frank Sanady, 67, told NBC Charlotte he went to hike the China Creek Trail Saturday afternoon.
"I thought my whole trip would've taken me round trip three-and-a-half, four hours max," Sanady said.
Sanady has decades of hiking experience, but this time, he got off-trail, and his GPS on his phone wasn't working. Because of this, he got lost.
"I was very disoriented," he recalled. "I had been dehydrated now for an hour- and-a-half and still climbing back and forth trying to find the trail."
He said he only had basic survival supplies so he relied on his experience and his faith.
"I pounded my legs, and I moved my feet 13 hours, and whenever I was lucid ... I prayed," Sanady said. "I was ready for whatever God had in mind."
Rescuers tried to find Sanady with no success Saturday evening.
As the night wore on, Sanady kept a positive mindset.
"I kept thinking, you know, 'I'm better off than I was,'" he remembered thinking to himself as the hours ticked away. "I'm closer to daylight than I was."
Firefighters found him around 11:30 a.m. Sunday, and it took nearly six hours to get him out of the trail.
His wife was at the edge of the trail, ready to greet him as he emerged. Sanady credits his faith for getting him through the 30-hour ordeal.
"All along, I knew I was blessed," Sanady said. "Even during the middle of the night."
Sanady spent Sunday night at a hospital before returning home Monday.
For future hikes, Sanady plans to have a GPS device and tell someone where he's hiking, as well as for how long he'll be gone.