23-Year-Old Hiker Missing for One Week Survived With No Food & Injured Leg


hiker found alive23-year-old hiker Mary Owen had only planned to do a one day hike on Mount Hood in Oregon last week. At first her friends assumed she had just found some new things to explore, but when she had not returned by Monday, they started to worry. By Wednesday, her family was alerted and people had become frantic. Luckily, she was found this weekend, hungry and cold, but alive.

Her story of survival is truly miraculous.

The experienced hiker brought only enough supplies and warm clothing for that one day hike. But after injuring her ankle, she could no longer make it down, so she built herself an ice cave and wrapped herself in her waterproof poncho to wait for help. Even with the hunger and pain in her injured ankle, she was able to wait. What a miracle for her family and what a lesson for everyone else. There is a reason this story has a happy ending.

It's experience. Plain and simple. Experience makes all the difference between a happy ending and a tragedy.

It's not always true. Even an experienced hiker or skier can find themselves in perilous conditions beyond their control. But for the most part, an experienced hiker knows the right supplies to bring that could mean the difference between life and death. Knowing this, perhaps her parents were able to find some kind of peace while their daughter was missing.

They had to have some confidence in her skills and that as long as she were only mildly injured, she would seek shelter and try to stay warm.

The lesson here is to do what you are capable of doing. We all push ourselves and try to master new skills by pushing our limits. Sometimes that is smart. Other times, it can kill you. Hiking is no joke. Even a day hike can turn into a week and your gear can mean the difference between life and death. I am a hiker and love the outdoors, but I am not all that experiences. Would I have thought to bring a rain poncho on a sunny day? Probably not. And that might have meant I would not survive. Pretty scary, no?

This story has a happy ending. It would not have ended this way were she a less experienced outdoors woman. Take this as a warning. If you are not experienced, hike with someone who is or do your research.

Would you ever take a hike you don't know?


Image via denebola2025/Flickr

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nonmember avatar Debbie

This is good advice. We went to the Grand Canyon in bad weather. We were on a guided mule ride to the top. I saw hikers who were so ill prepared that I felt sick. People wearing sneakers in a snow storm, with a jacket and a tiny bottle of water. True! I rescued a girl who was hypothermic from being totally unprepared for,the conditions. She was lucky I helped her. Everyday people have to be rescued there. Many people die hiking there and elsewhere every year. If you are going off the beaten path especially, be prepared! Even a well known trail can give you a twisted ankle or you can get dehydrated.

Austi... Austinsmommy12

Awesome story of survival...written by a twelve year old I presume. Who taught this woman grammar and transitional sentences? I would recommend going back to school to learn a little term called "proofreading". It's an invaluable skill in this field of work.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Would I ever take a hike I don't know? Yeah. Why not? The point is, you need to be prepared. Look at the weather before you go, know the terrain (or the kind of terrain), and know your area. If you're in the mountains, of COURSE you bring along a rain poncho or other foul-weather gear, and an extra layer. The weather in the mtns can change in the snap of a finger. Here in Iowa, if it says it's going to be sunny all day, you can pretty much bank on it.

Always bring along extra food, even if it's only a couple of protein bars and some water. It's not heavy, and it can help you if you get stuck. First aid kit (and not a cheap store-bought one. THINK about it).  A good, SHARP, pocket-knife/multi tool. Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat. sturdy shoes (you would not BELIEVE the number of Scouts whose parents send them on all-day events/hikes wearing those idiotic crocs or slides).

Know basic first aid and wilderness survival. Even if it's just "stay out of the elements, and build a shelter around yourself". And learn from those who are better.

Todd Vrancic

Oh, and always leave a flight plan, so to speak, with someone, so they know what general area to look for you.

nonmember avatar Jen

I live in Utah so we always pack clothes for weather changes since they happen frequently. I always pack first aid stuff, waterproof matches, emergency blanket, extra food and our water pump. With the water pump we don't need to carry tons of water (we do 12 hour hikes occasionally). We always tell people where we are going and take lights as well. We like to back country camp and sometimes my BF has no sense of direction and we lose the trail but always find our way back.

tuffy... tuffymama

I don't hike alone and I don't go without telling someone where and with whom I will be hiking. We don't have to be prepared for the kind of climate this hiker did, but we have so much wildlife and woods here.

PonyC... PonyChaser

Oh, and I read on some survivalist's website that you should take a bic lighter instead of matches. They're almost always reliable (keep it filled), and it can get wet, whereas with matches, you're screwed if you're stuck in the rain.

And PAY ATTENTION. Know where you're going, notice small trail markers and large ones, especially on a new trail. SO easy to get turned around, and if the weather turns, everything looks different. So if you've noticed things, like that huge weird-shaped rock a few feet back from the trail, you'll know you're on the right track if nothing else looks familiar.

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