Missing Hiker Survives After Multiple Bears Confront Her in Alaskan Mountains
"This has taught me how to appreciate everything because life is just too short," Fina Keifer said in an interview with "Good Morning America."
An Alaskan woman is grateful to be alive after she got lost on a hiking trail and found herself face-to-face with multiple bears. Fina Keifer, 55, left her home in Palmer on Monday at about 2 p.m. to begin an afternoon hike in the Alaskan mountains.
Despite being an avid hiker — Keifer reportedly explores the Lazy Mountain trails "every other day" — it was her first time exploring the Pioneer Ridge Trail, KTUU reported.
She was able to contact her husband several times throughout the evening by phone and updated him that the trail was taking longer than expected.
By 1 a.m., she alerted him that two bears had charged her and she only had half a can of bear spray left.
A multi-agency search party began Tuesday and trailed into Wednesday. Search parties scoured the areas but had called off the search "due to deteriorating weather in the area," according to an incident report.
By 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, a volunteer noticed Keifer exiting the woods.
Keifer was able to make her way off the mountain and into a resident's backyard.
She said that she spent the evening in the woods and was able to make a fire with water-proof matches she kept on her.
Keifer told KTUU that she could see the helicopters hovering above but she was too hidden under the brush.
She was taken to Mat-Su Regional Medical Center and released later that night.
"It really makes you aware of what you have," Keifer said during an interview on Today, recalling her encounter with the two bears.
At first, Keifer said she thought she was passing a moose but realized quickly that it was two bears.
"I looked at him and he looked at me, within 25 feet, and that's when I sprayed and yelled 'hey!'" she said. "He turned around and ran down the valley."
She says the experience has taught her that "life is too short."
"I am just thankful to be alive so I can hug and love my family again,"
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