Howard Coats

ATHOL, Idaho - It was a picturesque Thursday.

"I just wanted to go out and ride that one little hill."

Howard Coates planned a quick ride on his ATV and would be gone for just a little bit. There was something he wanted to see Thursday night.

“I just wanted to ride that one little hill and then come back and watch the Seahwaks game,” Coates said.

Coates never got to watch that Seahawks game. He crashed his ATV, rolling down a hill and trapping him.

“I was pinned up against a tree in the back and I didn't have a shirt on or nothing, that tree was just tattooed to my back,” Coates said.

"I couldn't move an eighth of an inch in any which direction, I was frozen."

Thursday night became Friday, which then became Saturday. For three days, Coates was stuck.

On Saturday, a bad storm rolled through the area. He used what he could around him to keep warm.

“I propped up a toolbox cover off the machine so I could use to catch some water and also keep some of the rain off my back,” Coates said.

“I knew I was going to make it, just a matter of how much time it was going to take me.”

Coates says he kept himself occupied by thinking of songs and replaying old concerts he’d been to in his mind.

It was a grueling 72 hours and then, finally.

On Sunday, like a glowing light, he was found in the same ravine, against the same tree, by his brother, son, and Kootenai County Search and Rescue.

"It was just an apparition, I've never been so happy,” Coates said, “I knew that my son was going to find me, I just knew it."

From there, Coates was life-flighted to Kooteani Health, where he is still recovering from dehydration and injuries.

Incredibly, he’s in good spirits, and says he plans to ride that hill again.

“Oh yeah,” Coates said, “she [his wife] thinks I'm going to sell it but I'm not going to."

Howard and his wife, Cheryl, wanted to thank the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue for not stopping their search once.

They say if it wasn’t for them, along with his son and brother, it could’ve taken several more days for him to be found.