How a Kamloops woman survived two nights in the woods with no food or water - InfoNews

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How a Kamloops woman survived two nights in the woods with no food or water

Jennifer Baird poses at the Lac Du Bois Grasslands, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, where she spent two nights without food, water, or her glasses.
August 30, 2018 - 4:23 PM

KAMLOOPS - As an avid hiker, Jennifer Baird spends many of her days off exploring the Lac Du Bois Grasslands, and this week was no different — but when she set off on a trail Monday, she had no idea how memorable the hike would become.

It was around 2 p.m., Aug. 27 when Baird, 42, headed out to the grasslands just northwest of Kamloops. Although she sometimes can hike up to 20 kilometres in the area, Baird decided to go for a quick two-hour journey.

"I was going to do a quick hike up to the bluff," Baird says.

She set off on the trail — one she wasn't familiar with. It wasn't long before she realized she took the wrong path to get to the top of the hill. At that point, Baird was at the edge of a cliff and she knows she's made a mistake.

"I tried to double back the way I came," she says.

But when she was stepping back, the ground below her crumbled and she started falling. Baird fell what she estimates to be 50 feet, adding that she counted three seconds of pure free fall. She bounced around on the rocky terrain and lost her glasses — which she can barely see without — suffering cuts and bruises along the way.

Credit: iNFOnews.ca

Baird was hurt; she knew there was no way she would be getting out of the grasslands that evening. She planned to stay the night at the bottom of the cliff, but became indecisive. Every time she spotted what she thought was a safe path, she questioned herself. There was no way for her to tell without her glasses.

As a Christian, Baird says her faith in God played a massive role in her survival. She felt that He was telling her she was in the wrong spot, and needed to find water if she wanted any chance at surviving.

Baird had to make her way back up a hill to try and find a place to set up shelter for the night, and she found her "fortress" which consisted of two fallen trees. She also found water — kind of.

"I tried to drink the marsh water just to stay alive," she says.

The next morning Baird heard the sound of a helicopter she assumed was scouring the area looking for her, but realized she was easy to miss in the grassy terrain. Whenever she heard a helicopter, she would stop working on her shelter and run to a clear spot.

No matter how much she jumped up and down, and shouted, no one spotted her.

"I was kind of losing hope from time to time," she says. 

It rained hard that night and left Baird shivering yet grateful because she knew rain meant water. That rain motivated Baird to fight for her life, she knew if she had to spend one more night there, she likely wouldn't survive.

That night she thought of her mother, and although Baird was prepared to die at this point, she knew her mom wouldn't be ready to lose her. So on Wednesday afternoon, Baird battled her way through the rough terrain, only focusing on making it to the road to get out of the grasslands.

And she made it.

Baird was dehydrated and weak, but she got to Lac Du Bois Road, where she saw a big puddle of water and couldn't seem to drink enough of it. After she got hydrated, she started making her way down the road. She was roughly a half-kilometre away from Kamloops Search and Rescue's command centre when Baird flagged down a passing truck.

She hopped into the box of the pickup and arrived at the rescue team's headquarters. She says they were quite surprised to see her.

"I was just blown away by the time, people, resources," Baird says.

She credits her pastor Gregory Vaal for helping to save her. When he found out she hadn't been seen since Monday evening and took time on Tuesday to check out the places where she's known to frequent looking for her vehicle, and even hiking the trails in the grasslands to try and find her.

Baird calls the mistakes she made leading up to her hike "inexcusable" for someone with her experience, including not telling anyone about her route plan and not taking a day pack with her.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Ashley Legassic or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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