After wandering around the Great Bear Wilderness area in Montana for six days, River Forest resident Madeline Connelly and her dog, Mogie, have been found alive.
Connelly, age 23, had been gone since Thursday when she and her dog left to go for a seven-mile hike, quickly getting lost on the trail. Connelly told CBS she knew they were lost on the first day, but continued walking with the hope of looping back.
“The first night I realized I was not in the right place,” Connelly told CBS. “Then I ended up on a lake and I was like, ‘This is not right.’”
Relatives of Connelly were hopeful, as police were treating the search as a rescue rather than a recovery, her uncle, Michael Connelly, told CBS. Now, family members are celebrating the young girl’s return while she recovers.
Walking up to 10 miles some days, Connelly and Mogie hiked through the steep terrain while enduring difficult weather and sleeping under trees.
“We rested for about two days because I just couldn’t move, and one day it kind of snowed,” Connelly told the Chicago Tribune. “All I had were overalls, a sweater with a hood, a T-shirt, my dog’s leash, my dog and my car keys.”
In order to survive Connelly drank water from streams and creeks she walked by, but did not have much to eat, according to the Tribune. When she was located on Wednesday she was about five miles from where her car was parked and requested to hike out.
Rescuers insisted Connelly be airlifted out and reported she was tired and hungry, but altogether ok, as was Mogie.
“I just kind of wanted to say thank you to everyone who put in all of this effort and helping me,” Connelly told the Tribune. “I didn’t really know what was going on out there. I kind of just thought I was going to make it out to my car this morning and go get a coke then go to my uncle’s house. I had no idea that all of this other stuff had been going on.”