On her 71st birthday, Sajean Geer drove up into Olympic National Park in the state of Washington to scatter her husband’s ashes at his favorite place in the world. After parking her car on the side of the road, she left into the woods with only an urn with the ashes, her phone, keys, and her dog, Yoda.
After spreading her husband’s ashes, she realized that she had not kept track of where she went due to the emotions of the moment. She decided to climb a nearby hill to see if she could spot the road but slipped and lost the urn down the side of the hill. With the road nowhere in sight, she then knew she was officially lost.
As dusk began to fall, she curled up with her dog beneath a log for the night. This began her first of six nights spent alone in the wilderness.
Luckily, Geer had a previous interest in living in the wild and had read books about how to survive many years ago. Keeping calm and finding water and shelter would be the key to her survival.
After building a makeshift shelter by stacking sticks between two fallen logs near a creek, Geer would scavenge for currants, pine needles, and ants for food.
After her brother noticed that Geer was not at home and not answering his phone calls, he began to worry. Authorities declared her missing and asked the public for help in their search for her.
A few days later a park ranger discovered her car parked along the side of the road and rescuers began an aerial search of the area. Geer heard the sound of a circling helicopter and found an open spot and stood on a log and waved. Rescuers in the helicopter spotted her and threw her a notebook telling her to stay put as a rescuer was sent out to her location.
After realizing that hiking out would be too difficult, a coast guard helicopter was called in to lower a basket down to haul Geer and her dog out. After giving her some food and liquids, she was reunited with her overjoyed and relieved brother and his family.
All things considered, other than slight dehydration and a few scrapes and bruises, Geer was miraculously in good condition. Rescuers credit her ability to stay calm and self-reliance for her survival and hope that her ordeal will serve as a lesson to hikers and adventurers to make sure they do not venture off into the wilderness without telling friends or family of their plans beforehand.