Stranded Grants Pass couple shares story

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — “I was beginning to think I was not going to see my birthday today,” Patricia New says.

Patricia New is happy to be back at work after an unexpected 3-day weekend. She and her husband Gene went for a drive in the mountains Saturday when they got stuck on Upper Grave Creek Road and couldn’t get out.

“We didn’t have the chainsaw, we always have the chainsaw,” New says.

Despite her 78-year-old husband’s efforts to dig them out, the truck wouldn’t budge. They had a handful of granola bars and a dutch bros coffee cup that they filled with snow. But after 2 days of no cell service and no progress, Patricia began to lose hope.

“I was thinking, ‘well we might not make it out of here,’ so I texted all my kids little love good bye letters. And that was really hard.”

But on Monday, Gene took one more hike to find cell service and a call finally went through.

“The call went through and it was daughter Cathy from Bend, and she called 911 and got them to ping and everything.”

A short while later, their son found them and Search and Rescue crews weren’t far behind.

“That was a blessing to see them coming, we were rejoicing after that.”

Patricia says she’s thankful to the Search and Rescue crews and grateful to be alive. And as she celebrates her 70th birthday, she’s certain she’s not only a another year older, but another year wiser too.

“So from now on — my one son lives here — if we’re going out into the mountains I’m gonna text him and say ‘we’re going this way, and we’ll be back at this time.'”

If you are heading out — especially in the winter — Search and Rescue reminds you to tell someone where you’re headed, always have supplies on hand, and don’t rely on your 4-wheel drive or cell phone to get you out of trouble.

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