After Government Shutdown, Couple Gets Lost In Wilderness

After Government Shutdown, Couple Gets Lost In Wilderness

Cathy Frye and her husband Rick McFarland almost died, and the government shutdown may be to blame

"I was starting to have trouble and we hadn't eaten in several days," explained Cathy. "We were in pretty dire straights at that point."

They were hiking in the Big Bend National Park in Texas—their favorite vacation spot where they got married—but were ordered to leave when the park closed because of the impasse in Washington.

So, they began hiking a neighboring state park, but got lost in the unfamiliar, harsh terrain.

"There had been quite a bit of rain and what looked to be flash flooding that had knocked a lot of the trail makers out of the way," said Cathy.

What was supposed to be a day-long hike turned into three days wandering in blistering heat.

Cathy 43, is an award-winning reporter with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper. Rick is a photographer on the newspaper.

Cathy says they decided she should stay put while her husband went for help.

She described, "He needed to go. I was holding him back. I would hold on as long as I could for him, and that he better do the same for me."

Rick was rescued several hours later, but it took another two days of searching to find Cathy in the wilderness.

Ranger Fernado Rincon heard her faint cries for help, explaining, "We just listened and we heard a faint 'Help' and we looked down and there was Cathy.

She was just a mile from where they had started out but she was in bad shape, naked, suffering from heat stroke, sunstroke and dehydration after days without water.

"I was pretty incoherent. I had taken all my clothes off. I don't know where they were. I was just lying out in the elements in the sun," she said.

Her husband took these pictures of her being rescued himself. 

Cathy concluded, "You want to be found. You don't want to die in a place like that all by yourself."