'I never gave up': N. Alta. woman sharing story of ordeal
Published Friday, August 17, 2012 5:51PM MDT
Last Updated Friday, August 17, 2012 6:45PM MDT
After spending two weeks lost in thick forest and muskeg in northern Alberta, Rhonda Cardinal is sharing the story of her frightening ordeal.
On Wednesday, August 15, Rhonda Cardinal, 41, flagged down an oil field worker who was driving to a remote oil lease site.
The worker brought Cardinal to the worksite, where a helicopter pilot volunteered to take her to Athabasca.
Luckily, she only suffered minor injuries in her ordeal, mostly bug bites and blisters.
“My feet are swollen still from blisters,” Cardinal said.
At the end of July, Cardinal became separated from her group, and was lost in the thick forests near Calling Lake.
“Last thing I remember I was walking in the bush,” Cardinal said. “I didn’t know where I was, where I was going.”
A number of RCMP members, emergency crews, volunteers and Cardinal’s family spent days combing the area after she was reported missing on August 1.
“We went up that evening with our quads, couldn’t find anything,” Sgt. Brian Scott with Athabasca RCMP said.
“It was a huge area we covered, not only on the ground, on foot, [but] also on quads.”
In 15 days, Cardinal made her way about 23 kilometres east, from the small hunting cabin where she had been staying.
She did not have water or food with her, and wasn’t wearing shoes when she went missing.
“I survived on berries, that’s about it,” Cardinal said.
Sgt. Scott said she’s lucky she made it out with only minor injuries.
“It’s fairly unique,” Scott said.
“We were considering the worst case scenario there, but thank goodness we were wrong.”
“[I am] very, very lucky,” Cardinal said. “But I never gave up.
“I just thought positive.”
With files from Bill Fortier