PORT ANGELES, Wash. — After six days of being stranded in Olympic National Park, 71-year-old Sajean Geer and her Chihuahua-terrier mix dog, Yoda, were rescued by a Coast Guard aircrew.
Rescuers found the pair around 7:15 p.m. Sunday. Both were fatigued and thirsty, but otherwise reported to be in good health. Geer was taken to the Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, where she was treated and released.
Geer's husband died several months ago. She had scattered half of his ashes in Hawaii and wanted to scatter the other half in his favorite spot in the park, Obstruction Point.
Geer, of Port Angeles, said she drove up a dirt road and planned on scattering the ashes and then leaving right away, but after locating the area to scatter her husband's ashes she realized she was lost and couldn't find her way back to the road.
"I couldn't find the car, I couldn't find the road, and I got really disoriented"
She said she was upset with herself because she is an experienced hiker but she knew she wasn't prepared to be in the park for an extended period of time since she had brought her dog with her, was only wearing a Hawaiian shirt and did not have cell phone service.
Geer also said she did not tell anyone where she was going since she didn't intend on being on an extended hike.
A close friend in Hawaii couldn't get in touch with Geer; she then notified Geer's brother, who called police.
Geer said she spent the first day trying to find her way out of the park, but didn't have any luck. She then made a shelter for herself and Yoda, who helped keep her warm.
She ate pine needles and bugs and descended a steep ravine a few times a day to get water from a stream.
Geer said she is a voracious reader and a few years ago she read a number of books on survival, which she said help her immensely in her predicament.
She said she maintained a positive attitude throughout the ordeal and when she eventually heard a helicopter, she stood on a log to wave the crew to her location.
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Cox Media Group