Hiker Stranded For Two Days With Broken Leg Says Dog Helped Get Her Rescued

A hiker in Washington State who was stranded in the woods with a broken leg credits her dog with saving her life.

On September 14, Barbara Dadswell set out on an afternoon hike up the Ashland Lake trail with a few bottles of water, some Slim Jims and her dog, Riley. Then, near the end of the trail, Dadswell slipped on a log, broke her leg and fell into a ravine.

"Slipped. And it snapped. And I don't know how it happened. It just happened so fast," Dadswell told KOMO News. "I knew the second it happened. I screamed so loud I thought the bears would go for help. But they're no help."

She had no reason to think anyone would be looking for her, let alone find her, as she hadn't discussed her plans to take a hike with anyone.

Dadswell used her Riley's backpack, her shoelaces and some sticks to fashion a makeshift splint for her leg and spent the next day-and-a-half trying to hobble closer to civilization.

"It poured down rain and I just had to think about, 'You want to just die up here? Or you going to have to do something? 'Cause no one's coming up here to get here. They don't know you're here.'" she told the station.

She tried to focus on the natural beauty around her rather than her perilous predicament. "I was afraid," she confessed, "but I just didn't want that to be the focus of what I was doing there."

Suddenly, a jogger heard her dog barking.

Barbara Dadswell credits her dog's barking with drawing a rescuer to her location trapped in the woods in Washington State. Steve McCarron @ Facebook

"I hear a person's voice. And I'm like 'Are you a person! You're a person. Thank God.' And I started yelling and he goes 'Are you okay?' And I'm like 'No, I'm not okay.' And that's when [he] showed up."

She added she almost thought her mind was playing tricks on her.

"The feeling of having them just show up at that one moment when you just think you're right at that edge that you're probably going to be gone. And then you show up and you hear his voice and you think 'This can't be real.'"

The man, identified as "Matthew," ran two miles to get some water and clothes from Dadswell's car. After getting her situated, he raced to the nearest ranger station for help.

A helicopter rescue team tried to locate Dadswell, but was stymied by the weather, so 20 search volunteers entered the woods and eventually found her. Dadswell was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, where she underwent surgery to rebuild her knee.

"Be thankful for everything that we have," Dadswell told KOMO. "Just be thankful."

Now in a rehabilitation facility, she faces a lengthy recovery and can't put any weight on her right leg for three months.

"Stay safe. Make sure you tell somebody where you're going to," she insisted. "And always know that someone's there with you."