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71-year-old hiker survives 6 days stranded in woods

Posted at 9:27 PM, Jul 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 21:27:07-04

PORT ANGELES, WA (CNN./KIRO) - The US Coast Guard rescued a 71-year-old hiker and her dog after they were stranded for six days in Olympic National Park. When rescuers found Sajean Geer and her chihuahua, Yoda, they were fatigued and thirsty but otherwise in good health.

Geer had brought some of the ashes of her late husband, Jack, to Obstruction Point to scatter them in a place he loved. Afterward, overcome with emotion, she became disoriented and couldn’t find her car.

“As an experienced hiker, I’m going, ‘I can’t believe this. And I’m lost,’” Geer said. “What I figured is I had to survive until I got rescued.”

So she did. Geer is a voracious reader. A few years ago, she read several books about outdoor survival.

“One of the things was having a positive mental attitude and a fighting spirit that you’ll live through this, and then I knew the four things you had to do,” she said.

She built a shelter beneath two big logs and held Yoda at night for warmth. She found a stream at the bottom of a steep hill, and together, she and Yoda climbed down three times a day for water. She at currants and pine needles.

“This ant bit me, and I remember watching on television you can eat ants, so I said, ‘Ant, I have bigger mouth than you, so I at you,’” she said.

After six nights she saw a helicopter and scrambled onto a sunny spot on a log.

“I start waving my hands as much as possible, and I said, ‘Please see me! Please see me!’ Finally, they waved at me,” Geer said.

A ground crew from Kitsap Explorer Search and Rescue reached her, and a Coast Guard helicopter lifted her to safety.

Geer said those six nights in the woods reminded her of what matters.

“You start to think about what’s really important in life,” she said. “And I realize what’s really important in life is relationships and love.”

Copyright 2017 KIRO via CNN. All rights reserved.