Sisters Survive 13 Days in Michigan Wilderness on Girl Scout Cookies, Cheese Puffs

   04.27.15

Thin Mints and Tagalongs are not exactly meant to be used as emergency rations, but eight boxes of Girl Scout cookies meant the difference between life and death for two women stranded in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

According to CNN, Leslie Roy, 52, and Lee Wright, 56, were driving to Kalamazoo in the southwestern Lower Peninsula after visiting a relative when their truck got stuck in heavy snow on a backwoods road in Luce County. For nearly two weeks, the sisters huddled inside the relative warmth of the car and survived on boxes of Girl Scout cookies, some cheese puffs, and melted snow for drinking water. A state police helicopter finally spotted the vehicle on Friday, thanks to a shiny windshield and the sisters’ attempt at making a signal fire. The two women were then transported to a hospital in Newberry.

“It is unbelievably remarkable,” Michigan State Police Detective Sgt. Jeff Marker, one of the rescuers, told MLive. “They had multiple layers of clothes on and they were rationing their food.”

Family and friends said it was more than just remarkable—it was a miracle. With the women missing for 13 days, family members say they were prepared to assume the worst.

“We were in pretty dire straights. We knew that we needed to find them soon in order to have a happy outcome,” Roy’s son Dennis told uppermichicanssource.com.

For Wright and Roy, surviving two weeks in the wilderness was no easy task. Trying to stay warm became a problem after the truck’s battery died and the sisters packed on as many clothes as they brought with them. Food was also a pressing issue. The cookies and snacks that they had brought with them were meant for an eight-hour trip to Kalamazoo, not a 13-day stay in the woods. The sisters also recalled being visited by a bear two nights in a row, but the animal seemed merely curious and wandered off without disturbing them.

On Friday, they heard the sound of a helicopter flying overhead.

“We started to circle and then they got out of the vehicle and started waving their hands, and tried to build a fire quickly to signal us. They were very elated. Lee Wright was clutching to her bible. They were very appreciative to be found,” Marker said.

Due to the dense tree coverage, rescuers had to land on a nearby beach and hike 25 minutes into the forest to reach the women. A family that lived nearby agreed to help and arrived on ATVs, which were used to carry the sisters to where the helicopter waited. They have since been discharged from the hospital and are now back with their families. Family members say they will attempt to retrieve the truck and determine how it got stuck.

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