Leia Carrico, 8, followed a deer trail outside of her home in Northern California with her 5-year-old sister, Caroline. The pair of sisters, armed just with rubber boots and snacks, ended up wandering deeper and deeper into the cold and rainy wilderness. On Friday, Leia and Caroline disappeared and the long and difficult search began. The National Guard, firefighters, search and rescue dogs, helicopters, and military agencies were involved in the massive effort. As the hours went by, the girls became more susceptible to hunger, dehydration, and/or hypothermia while stranded in the rugged forest’s “extreme environment.”
Thankfully, Leia and Caroline both had survival skills from their participation in their local 4-H club. Though family members and rescue crews didn’t know it at the time, these skills were proving incredibly valuable to the girls’ survival as days turned into nights.
Forty-four hours after Leia and Caroline’s initial disappearance, firefighters discovered a trail of boot prints and granola bar wrappers in the woods, about one and a half miles away from their house. “The wrappers showed us a direction from where they started to where the wrappers ended up at,” Lt. Mike Fridley told CBS News.
There, huddled together under a bush, were the missing sisters. And they have an amazing story to tell.