Motherly Instinct Saves Hiker’s Life

Nancy Abell met Katharina Groene on the trail in Washington State a couple of weeks ago. During their brief meeting, Katharina mentioned to Nancy her plan to continue hiking...

Nancy Abell met Katharina Groene on the trail in Washington State a couple of weeks ago. During their brief meeting, Katharina mentioned to Nancy her plan to continue hiking alone up to the Canadian border. It didn’t sit well with Nancy.

“She was from Germany. She had no idea what she was getting into,” Nancy said. “In fact I told her, ‘If you were my daughter I wouldn’t let you do this’.” That was the last she saw of her.

But it wasn’t the last of her worries. For the next seven nights, Nancy grew increasingly restless. She knew it was pretty late in the season to be walking that final stretch without snowshoes. When she read the forecast for two feet of snow in the mountains, Nancy went full-on mother hen.

“I was really stressed out. I felt really compelled that I really needed to get help for her,” Nancy said.

She called 911 to report a hiker who was “probably at risk.” Now, as a general rule, the authorities don’t go looking for missing people who aren’t missing. This hiker hadn’t put out a distress call and hadn’t even missed a checkpoint. Yet somehow, Nancy convinced them that her hunch was an educated one, so they went searching.

The Snohomish County Sheriff’s department scoured the mountains where Nancy suggested. That’s when they spotted her – frostbit, with maybe a day to live. The rescue crew said Nancy saved Katharina’s life.

Needless to say, Nancy is sleeping much better now. She invited Katharina to stay with her for a few days before her flight back to Germany.

She said the whole reason she did the hike alone was because she’d given up on people. Katharina said: “I lost faith in humanity.”

But she said she got her faith back in a “really big way.”

So if you need faith restored, come to America — or just find your nearest mom.

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