Karen Kline was no stranger to being outdoors. An avid triathlete, she loved hiking and had taken wilderness survival classes and rarely ever gave up when things got hard. She proved that her will to live was stronger than anyone expected after this terrifying chain of events.
Karen was in the car with her husband, Eric, and 10-year-old son. They were heading to the Grand Canyon National Park, but their GPS led them on an alternate route through forest service roads, but the snow had fallen and the roads had not been plowed.
They tried to maneuver and turn the car around, but they ended up sliding into a ditch. Snow was falling quickly and they knew they needed help before they died from exposure.
Karen knew that she was most likely to survive the harsh climate and get help, so she took water, snacks, and set off into the freezing wilderness.
She had been gone for 24 hours, and Eric couldn’t wait any longer. He began hiking to higher ground, and miraculously, found cell service to call for help.
Karen was still missing.
Searches began, and rescuers found her huddled in a guard shack under piles of blankets. For 30 straight hours, she had hiked 26 miles trying to find help. When she ran out of food and water, she ate pine twigs and drank her own urine, knowing that eating snow would bring on hypothermia. When a piece of ice lodged into her left shoe, she took it off to remove the shard but was unable to put the shoe back on. She hiked four additional miles without it before finding the shed, but those miles took over nine hours to complete.
She walked a few feet, collapsed, picked herself up…only to collapse again, mile after mile.
After being awake for 45 hours, she wouldn’t let herself fall asleep because she knew that if she did, she wouldn’t wake up again. After she reached the shack and layered the blankets over her, she spent another 6 hours until she was found.
She wasn’t going to give up, and her will to live was stronger than her own body.
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