(KING) – The King County Sheriff’s Office says a Snohomish County rescue helicopter located a hiker Thursday who had been missing near Snoqualmie Pass with her two dogs for three days. Paula Reuter of Seattle and her dogs were all airlifted by helicopter.
“I was extremely grateful that people were able to notice I was missing,” Reuter said.
Reuter said she took off at 7:45 a.m. Monday. She was found Thursday afternoon around 3:00. On Monday and Tuesday she tried to find her way back to the trail head, but on Wednesday, she changed her approach.
“I was like, ‘OK. I just need to stop and smoke signal,'” Reuter said.
She had a lighter with her and tried to send a smoke signal to the chopper that she saw above.
“I had a really good spot. It wasn’t getting foggy in the morning, tons of dry brush around,” Reuter said. “I had seen the helicopter and I had my smoke signals out and I knew something was going to happen.”
The sheriff’s office said the 21-year-old woman was located in the Kula Kula Basin and is “pretty healthy.” She survived by eating mushrooms and bark while she was lost and was able to build a fire. She said she had some beef jerky with her, but she gave it to her dogs. The helicopter transported Reuter and her dogs to Bandera Airfield in North Bend, where she was reunited with her happy parents.
“We’re just happy to have her back,” Reuter’s mom tearfully said. “She’s our life. Our children are our life. No matter how old they get, they are our babies.”