When we lose someone we love, we often want to fulfill their final wishes. Sajean Gear lost her husband several months ago.
She had his ashes with her earlier this month when she and Yoda, her favorite Chihuahua-terrier mix went to Olympic National Park in Washington state.
Sajean wanted to honor her late husband’s legacy by scattering his ashes in the park because he loved the scenery and nature there. Sajean is an experienced hiker. She doesn’t let her age of 71 slow her down.
Little did Sajean know when she struck out on her journey with Yoda that day, she’d be in for an adventure of a lifetime.
Sajean and Yoda made their way to Obstruction Point, the place where she intended to lay her husband to rest. However, when they reached their destination, emotions of her loss overwhelmed Sajean.
Her feelings caused her to become disoriented. Sajean soon reached the horrible conclusion that she and Yoda were lost.
“I couldn’t find my car, I couldn’t find the road, and I got really disoriented,” Sabean said.
Sajean wasn’t equipped with survival gear; nor was she prepared for an extended stay in the park. She was wearing a Hawaiian top and capri pants.
Sajean calmed down and took stock of her situation. An avid reader, Sajean recalled something from an outdoor survival book she read. When in a tough situation, it’s important to have: “a positive mental attitude and a fighting spirit that you’ll live through this.” Sajean said later after her rescue: “What I figured was, I had to survive until I got rescued.
I said, ‘OK, I’m going to do this.’”
Sajean took that mantra with her as she constructed a shelter of logs and moss to keep herself and Yoda warm. A nearby stream provided dog and woman with regular water. Sajean made the trek three times per day. Her diet consisted of currant fruits, pine needles, and ants.
Sajean spoke of an experience with one particular insect: “This and bit me. Then I remember watching on television, you can eat ants, and I go, ‘Well, I have a bigger mouth than you,’ so I ate him when he bit me.”
Sajean’s family regularly checks in on her. After not hearing from their relative for several days, concerned, they organized a coordinated search.
Sajean traveled to the park on July 18th. Her family reported her missing the next day. No one knew Sajean was at Olympic National Park. Two days later, a missing person alert was issued.
An on-duty park ranger spotted Sajean’s vehicle and notified authorities. A ground search near the car revealed nothing.
On July 23rd, the Olympic National Park Service observers took their quest to the skies. Sajean was spotted going for one of her water trips.
“I start waving my hands as much as possible, and I go, ‘Please see me, please see me,'” she said. “Then, finally, they waved at me.”
Sajean was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter while Yoda was saved by a ground rescue team. Sajean’s husband’s ashes were also located. Treated at the Olympic National Park Medical center, Sajean only suffered dehydration and minor scratches. She and Yoda were able to return home that evening.
When asked later what she learned from her week-long ordeal, Sajean said: “I realized what’s really important in life is relationships and love.”
We’re certain Yoda gave her mistress loads of love during their ordeal. The pooch perhaps kept Sajean’s spirits up and mind from wandering. Sajean had to not only look after herself, but her precious pet as well. We’re relieved both woman and dog were saved and are doing well.