FREDONIA, AZ - A mom walked over 30 miles in freezing temperatures to search for help for her husband and son. When the family's car careened into a snow-covered ditch in the Grand Canyon, this mom knew she had only one choice. Since she was a tri-athlete and had taken wilderness survival classes, she decided it was up to her to set out on foot to get help.
Despite the heavy snow falling, 46-year-old Karen Klein walked for hours in the wilderness, through 30 miles, subsisting on twigs and her urine, to get help. When she first set out, she thought the nearest major highway was only a short trek away. She didn’t know the road had been closed for winter. So, she decided to walk on — toward the park entrance. When Klein hadn’t returned by Friday afternoon, her husband knew time was running out. Leaving the shelter of the car, he hiked with his son to higher ground and was able to get a cell phone signal to call for help. But his wife was now missing.
Shortly after midnight Saturday morning, searchers found her. She was inside a guard shack closed for the season at the northern rim gate of the Grand Canyon.
She was barely conscious and suffering from exposure. She had hiked 26 miles for 30 straight hours. When she ran out of food and water, she ate pine twigs and drank her urine, her sister told the Morning Call newspaper. Klein knew eating snow would hasten hypothermia.
At one point, Klein took off her left shoe to remove a piece of ice. She wasn’t able to get the shoe back on. But, refusing to give up, she hiked the last four miles without it. It took nine hours for her to travel those last few miles.