According to NBC, Karen Klein was enjoying a holiday vacation with her husband and 10-year-old son when their car slid off the road and got stuck in mud near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. After consulting with her husband, they came to the conclusion that she should go get help because he had recently been in an accident and Karen is outdoorsy and athletic.
“I said, ‘I’ll go, I’ll just walk up to the main road. I’m a runner,'” Klein recounted Monday.
When Karen left her husband and son to set out for help, she was determined to reach the nearest main road to flag down help, but she was unaware that the area is closed to traffic throughout the winter. Over this 36 hour period, she ended up walking through almost 30 miles of snow-covered ground with no cell service, no snow boots and nothing to eat besides a small pack of cheerios. To survive, Karen ate aspen and evergreen twigs and melted snow for food and water. To protect herself from the elements, Klein laid underneath an evergreen tree, but she feared falling asleep and freezing to death, so she rocked back and forth to stay warm.
“As far as places being closed, we just didn’t realize that these roads were closed and these visitor centers were closed. We didn’t investigate that deeply,” stated Klein.
While walking, Karen pulled a muscle near her hip and had lost a shoe due to compacted snow. After 36 hours of walking, Karen reached an uninhabited residence for park rangers and used her elbow to break the glass and get in. Unknowingly, her husband and son had set out in the opposite direction to reach cell service and call for help. A search and rescue team discovered Klein in the residence she had broken into. Thankfully, Karen is recovering in the hospital, despite some frostbitten toes. The trek she endured in those conditions is absolutely unbelievable.
“In the grand scheme of things. I keep thinking: ‘You know what? It’s a few toes. Don’t worry about it,'” stated Klein.