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Lost Hiker found + amazing cat!
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“A strange story, but what amazes me most is that the cat seemed to be able to fend for itself, but it also stuck with the woman.
Hiker missing for month found in New Mexico forest
March 09, 2012|Russell Contreras, Associated Press
Temperatures dropped below freezing almost every night, but somehow Margaret Page and her cat survived 3 ½ weeks in an isolated and rugged region of a southwestern New Mexico national forest.
Tucked away in a blue sleeping bag for warmth and set up near a creek for drinking water, Page and her cat named Miya lived on just a handful of supplies, rescue workers said Friday. The nearest town — tiny Dusty, N.M. — was 10 miles away.
Family members reported her missing Feb 14. But for various reasons, authorities didn’t start searching for her until this week. The 41-year-old Page, who has a history of mental illness, was found Wednesday emaciated and malnourished but well-hydrated.
“Her cat was in better shape than she was,’’ New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue incident commander Marc Levesque said. “Her cat was also hunting. (Page) ran out of food a while back.’’
Page apparently purposefully hiked off a trail between Feb. 10 and Feb. 12. A Forest Service law enforcement agent spotted her silver Chevy passenger car on Feb. 12, but didn’t think much of it because hikers leave vehicles near trails all the time, said Lt. Robert McDonald, a spokesman for the state police.
Another Forest Service agent noticed the car on Feb. 25 but didn’t contact state police until 10 days later. Members of the Grant County Search and Rescue and other crews began the search for Page on Tuesday after her family notified state police that Page’s car had been found at a campground.
She was found the following day about a mile up the Railroad Canyon Trail in an area known as the Black Range.
The area had seen average highs reach around 60 degrees with evening lows in the 20s. It didn’t see much rain or snow, but there were some high winds.
Authorities don’t believe Page intended to stay in the forest for as long as she did when she first set up camp, and they aren’t sure what she ate after she ran out of food.
“She is an experienced backpacker,’’ search crew leader Dave Kuthe said. “She had adequate shoes…she just took a bag of pretzels with her.’’
Also, Page’s car was towed as crews began their search mission — something Robert Matulich, a field certified member of the Dona Ana County Search and Rescue team, said was unusual. Crews sometime use vehicles to give the search dogs a scent to use, he said.
“It looks to me like somebody dropped the ball on this one,’’ Matulich told the Silver City Sun-News (http://bit.ly/wkSzoB). “Why’d they tow the truck? Who towed the truck?’’
Levesque said by the time Page arrived at Gila Regional Medical Center she was alert and articulate, even though she had lost about 20 to 25 pounds during the ordeal.
She checked herself out late Wednesday and spent the night in a Silver City hotel. And she’s been reunited with her cat.
“Heard this same story without a cat two years ago, I believe. The issue was mental illness, which has to be what's going on here. What sane person would go backpacking with a cat?
And there's nothing amazing about the cat. Cat's are so close to being wild, thousands of years of instinctual behavior takes over. If the lady had succumbed, it would have eaten her flesh before it missed a meal.”
“What impresses me is that it stuck with her. I'd have thought it would be gone once she had no food for it.
What's also curious to me is the delays in looking for her.
last edited: 3/12/12 12:17:28 PM”
“They say cats love houses not people..well David Byrne said that. That sleeping bag probably offered the cat warmth enough to stick around and may have kept her alive. What does a full size cat add to the R value of a bag? I'm guessing quite a bit.”
“who would bring a cat hiking though?”
“I think loyality depends on the cat. There are some out ther who honestly love thier humans. I had a cat growing up who was devoted to me. He would stay by me when I was sick until I got better. He followed me around all day, would wait on the front porch for my bus. He would mope around the house and just meow at the top of his lungs in my parents' faces if I was spending the night at friends. He was loyal to me. It sounds like this cat may have been like that. I dont know if I would take my cat hiking though....”
“I met a guy at Trail Days many years ago who was hiking with a dog, cat and mouse. The cat rode on the dog and the mouse rode on the cat. Strangest thing I have ever seen.
When I was hiking the A.T. I seen a guy hiking with a cat. The cat sat on his pack and he would sometimes walk with a leash.”
“I always hike with a canary...you know, just in case..
“LOL @ Nimrod and 1camper.
Definitely backpacking with the cat is one of many weird things about the story.
Perhaps the cat did get some warmth and security or maybe it was loyal to her. I guess I was just thinking, if I was the cat, I'd have ditched her.”
“I've had cats that would follow me. You have to carry them especially when it gets hot. Imagine yourself in a constant run keeping up with a human's pace. No way I would take one backpacking.”
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