PHOTO: Woman has an amazing tale to tell from the Grand Canyon. (Photo via Flickr/Tony Hisgett)
Never take nature for granted, because one wrong turn or a broken-down car can lead you to a truly terrifying experience.
ABC News spoke with 24-year-old Amber Vanhecke who recounted her horrifying ordeal at the Grand Canyon, illustrating how quickly things can go from bad to simply deadly. The report explains that the Denton, Texas native was vacationing at the Grand Canyon by herself when a series of truly unfortunate events caused her to eventually make videos she thought at the time would be her final farewell to family and friends.
That it got to this level of despair is remarkable considering things started off in a fairly benign manner.
First, Vanhecke ’s GPS had her take a wrong turn, which would later end with her car running out of gas despite plenty of prior planning—she had been planning this trip since January—as she explained to ABC News: “I planned out my itinerary, had it posted on Facebook and stuff and off I went with some non-perishables and water.”
After getting off on the wrong road, one thing after another went wrong.
A call to 911 was dropped, which became a running theme with the unending calls she tried to make out of the area. Unfortunately, Vanhecke just wasn’t getting service.
As for hoping for a rescue party, she explains: “I felt very disconnected from just everything and everyone. I was like, 'Is there even a search out?’ At that point that question crossed my mind. But apparently there was a miscommunication somewhere and no one was looking for me at all.”
READ MORE: Chile Just Created a Truly Massive National Park
Four days into the ordeal, a truck passed by but kept on driving: “I chased them as far as I could. [But] they didn't hear me and they didn't see me.”
She eventually hiked east. After 11 miles, she finally got a hold of 911 for a few moments before the call dropped.
But it was enough.
As the report states, rescuers found the hiker a few miles from her car as she ambled back to the location that had been her home for five days.
While an unending set of circumstances stacked up against her, Vanhecke is being commended for her preparation—she came with a great deal of water and food—as well her quick thinking. She left a note of what direction she was headed before her 11-mile hike on the fifth day.
Jonah Nieves, a member of the Air Rescue team with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, tells ABC News: “She did a lot of things that helped her survive. Those notes were clues, and those clues led us to where she was.”
As for whether the ordeal left her deterred from traveling, Vanhecke explains: “There's this word that really suits me—it's called Fernweh. It means a longing for places you've never been and that's basically me. It's like wanderlust, but sounds fancier.”
Triumphant, Vanhecke continued her holiday after being treated. Not even a death-defying ordeal could keep her down.