Helicopter crews airlifted a hiker from the Kula Kula Basin in Washington State’s Cascade Range on Thursday. She and her two dogs had been missing for three days before rescue crews found them.
USA Today reports that Paula Reuter, a 21-year-old restaurant manager from Seattle, set out on Monday morning for an 11-mile hike near Snoqualmie Pass, about an hour east of Seattle, and lost her way. She tried to find her way back to the trailhead for two days but changed her approach on Wednesday. “I was like, ‘Okay, I just need to stop and smoke signal,” Reuter told King 5 News. She had been reported missing Tuesday night; on Thursday, she was able to attract the attention of a search copter.
Reuter survived her time in the wilderness by eating mushrooms and bark. She was carrying some beef jerky but gave it to her dogs, who, according to NBC, also survived on frogs and rabbits.
Detective Jason Stanley of the King County Sheriff’s Office told USA Today that Reuter’s friends described her as a casual hiker who probably wasn’t equipped to camp out, but she was able to make use of the dry brush and build a fire as overnight temperatures dropped into the 40s.
The helicopter airlifted Reuter and her dogs to Bandera Airfield in North Bend, Washington. The sheriff’s office told King 5 News that she looked healthy. Reuter was released from the hospital Thursday night.