Would you be able to face the wilderness in extremely cold temperatures with no supplies? Well, this woman had to face that exact horrifying situation, which ultimately became a harrowing tale of survival and salvation.
Family VacationThe Sun
Karen Klein, a 46 year old teacher from Easton, Pennsylvania, was on vacation in Las Vegas with her husband and 10-year-old son when they decided to visit the breathtakingly beautiful Grand Canyon.
The Detour From HellThe Sun
On December 23, the Klein family was trying to reach the Northern Rim of the Grand Canyon, but their GPS told them that the main highway was closed and they had to take a detour through a gravel forest service road.
Stuck In The SnowMotrolix
It was on this road that their car got stuck in a ditch and wouldn't move. They had to get help, and Karen decided she would go on her own, since her husband had been in an accident recently and he would have a harder time moving in the wilderness.
She Was Fit And CapableThe Sun
She felt more than capable as she was outdoorsy and athletic. She had taken wilderness survival training classes, never expecting that she would one day actually need to put it to the test.
10-Mile StrollThe Sun
However, what was supposed to be a "short" trek to the nearest highway became something much worse. The highway was closed for the winter, so with no other cars in sight, she decided to walk to the park's entrance which was located far away from the car, and her family.
No SignalComputer How To Guide
Ever since the car accident, the Klein family had trouble finding a signal to phone for help. The park's entrance was 14 miles away from the highway. So Karen was hoping to find help there. After all, time had passed and she knew she had to return to her family soon, or they'll become heavily concerned.
No SuppliesHX Report
She had taken with her a bottle of water and some snacks, but after hours of walking they were long gone. "It started to get dark. I got cold and scared and thought, you know, I just have to keep walking, because someone has to pass."
The Worried HusbandABC7
A whole day had gone by and Karen still hadn't returned to the car. The husband, who had a back injury, decided to take his son with him and walk to higher ground to try and find a signal, and they succeeded.
The Search For KarenNBC News
A search and rescue team was formed and they started looking for her. They suspected she had found a shack with sleeping bags, food, water, and matches that was always unlocked. If she made it there, she would be safe. But unfortunately, that wasn't the case.
Wilderness Survival TrainingMy Sweet World
After walking for more than 26 miles, the sun went down. With no food or water, she was forced to drink her urine and eat pine tree twigs to survive. She knew she couldn't eat snow as that would only cause hypothermia.
Surviving The ElementsMaine Today
She was suffering from exposure and frostbite as she had been walking for hours on end. At one point, she took one of her shoes off to try to remove a piece of ice off it, so she could continue to walk. When she tried to put the shoe back on, it wouldn't fit anymore.
She Never Gave UpPeople
30 hours had passed since the start of this ordeal, but she refused to give up. She hiked 4 extra miles until she found a guard's shack. It took her nine hours to travel those last few miles, collapsing several times along the way.
Fierceless DeterminationTop Insurance Health
"I can’t leave my son without a mom, I can’t leave my husband without a wife, I’m not letting my parents bury me," she thought to herself. "I kept myself awake. I just talked to myself and rocked back to stay warm," she said.
Salvation At LastTimber Turner
Klein saw an abandoned residence for park rangers and broke in by breaking the glass with her elbow. The place had no power and just a few blankets, but it was enough to seek refuge.
She Was Found AliveSuperior Clay
When the search party found her, she was exhausted, dehydrated and had been hallucinating. Frostbite had gotten to her toes and fingers, so they quickly built a fire in the cabin to raise her temperature.
The Long Road To RecoveryHeavy
She's now alive and well and recovering in a hospital. She may lose some of her toes due to frostbite but "she's in good spirits and looking forward to returning home," according to her sister.
Determined To LiveThe Sun
Mrs. Klein was not the type to surrender. The determined mother and wife was known for being disciplined and focused, one to never give up in the face of adversity. "She would make a decision and she would stick to it and never give up," her twin sister, Kristen Haase, told reporters. "She would do it or she would die trying."