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Woman explains how she survived 9 days in wild

Posted at 4:34 PM, Apr 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-13 20:39:00-04
 
It all started when Rodgers found herself lost on a dirt road without cell reception. She was driving from Tucson to the Phoenix area to visit her grandchildren.
 
She spent the first night in her car with her cat and dog. The next day she left her cat and car and hiked to a high mesa nearby so she could see what was nearby. When she found nothing, she decided to follow a riverbed in the canyon to look for help.
 
"We kept trekking as long as I could go each day," Rodgers said, referring to her dog and travel companion, Queenie.
 
She and her dog stopped to make camp each night. She spent two nights in the place she found, "an old old homestead with a sandstone fireplace that {she} could burn the logs in without breathing the smoke in all night," Rodgers said.
 
As for food? Rodgers said they ate mostly plants. "I did find one turtle on my birthday," Rodgers said. "That was my one protein lunch day. I jumped in the river, scooped out the poor little turtle and cooked it over the campfire upside down."
 
For water, she said they drank the rainwater pooled on rocks after the storms. Every day, she would signal for help with a signal fire, or by, "signaling with my compact mirror. Since none of that worked, that's when I decided to make a giant written 'Help Me' sign."
 
That sign is how rescuers found her almost a week later. Lowell Neshem is the Arizona Department of Public Safety rescue pilot who first spotted Rodgers.
 
"I was completely shocked," Neshem said. "Up to that point, I thought we were looking for a body."
 
Rodgers said that moment was pure joy for her. "I was ecstatic," she said. "At last! Finally! Yes!...We're gettin' out of here today!"
 
Rodgers said survival classes she'd taken made all the difference, and that she is so grateful for the rescuers who found her.