Carolyn Dorn set out on December 6th, 2006 on a hike in the Gila Forest. She would stay for two weeks and be home long before Christmas. Five days into her trip a storm hit. The river rose dramatically and she was trapped on the wrong side of the river. All she could do was camp out and wait.
Dorn hadn’t returned home three weeks later. Her car was spotted just before Christmas. A search was started, but halted after 3 days when no sign of Dorn could be found.
Albert and Peter Kottke were on a hike heading out of the Gila Forest. On a whim, they decided to take a longer route out of the forest. As they peered across the Gila River, they saw movement. When they got closer they realized there was a woman stranded in the snow.
They found Dorn in good condition, but didn’t have the strength to walk out with them. They set her up with food and drink. They left a book for her to read and a blanket to keep her warm. Then they set out to find help.
Dorn was rescued two days later. She was in stable condition, but severely dehydrated. In all, she survived five weeks alone in the forest.