We asked our subscribers to tell us their survival stories. And we received a tremendous response.
This one was harrowing and inspiring. Ann Rodgers spent 9 freezing days and nights in the Arizona wilderness at 72 years young!
Ann didn’t have time to write her story for us, so she sent us this link, reprinted with permission below:
A woman lost in an Arizona forest with her dog for nine days survived by drinking pond water, eating plants and spelling out ‘HELP’ on the ground with sticks, authorities said on Tuesday.
The sign helped lead rescuers to Ann Charon Rodgers, 72, and her dog in the White Mountains of eastern Arizona earlier this month, the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) said.
Rodgers went missing on March 31 as she headed to visit her grandchildren in Phoenix.
Authorities said she got lost and her hybrid vehicle ran out of gas and electric power.
While she and her dog were stranded on a remote stretch of back country road near Canyon Creek on the White River Indian Reservation, she became disoriented, authorities said.
During that time, Rodgers tried to climb several ridge lines in an effort to get mobile service so that she could call for help.
Rodgers pictured before a helicopter airlifts her to a local hospital for treatment. She went missing on March 31 as she headed to visit her grandchildren in Phoenix
On April 3, the Gila County Sheriff’s Office received a call to assist with a missing person and three days after a search began, her car was discovered but rescue crews struggled to find her.
Authorities eventually came across her dog on April 9 before an aerial search by a DPS flight crew spotted a ‘HELP’ signal made of sticks and rocks on the ground.
A handwritten note dated April 3 was also found under one of the rocks used in the help signal, indicating that Rodgers was out of food and water and was headed down the canyon.
Authorities said they found what appeared to be a shelter that had been abandoned by Rodgers.
Rodgers had left the area where the sign and note was discovered, but she was found nearby in the White Mountain Apache Reservation after starting a signal fire and waving to a helicopter.
She was rescued in fair condition, though suffering from exposure, and was taken to a helicopter that transported her to a hospital in Payson for treatment.
She has since been released from the hospital and reunited with her family.
Rodgers has a Tucson-region area code, but it is not clear where she lives or how she wound up in the eastern part of the state.
The drive from Tucson to Phoenix is a straight shot on Interstate 10, which does not run through the area where she was found.
Rodgers declined to comment when reached by The Associated Press.
We’ll have more on this story soon!