Two girls are happy to be home after the sisters survived 44 hours in the California wilderness. Their family says their survival is entirely thanks to their extensive wilderness training.
Caroline, age 5, and Leia Carrico, age 8, were found less than two miles from their home, near Richardson Grove State Park. Sheriff William Honsal called their discovery “a miracle.” He went on to say: “This was rugged territory, this is an extreme environment and how they were out there for 44 hours is pretty amazing…These girls definitely have a survival story to tell.”
The sisters had decided to go for a walk in the woods near their home when they got lost. When it started to rain, they knew they needed to find cover and ran for shelter under a “huckleberry bush cave.”
During the days they were missing, they drank water off the surface of the huckleberry leaves and shared a single rain jacket to stay warm, one girl’s arm in each sleeve.
Leia admitted that, at that point, she was feeling “nervous and a little afraid,” but she worked hard, knowing she had to keep her little sister safe. She said, “My sister cried the whole night so I told her to think happy thoughts of our family and I kept watch for most of the night.” While Caroline was able to get a few moments of sleep, Leia was awake almost the entire 44 hours. The girls almost lost their voices from shouting for help.
Travis Carrico, the girls’ father, said the girls often spent time outside, so he wasn’t afraid when they didn’t immediately come home that first evening. As time went on, he became afraid. He said, “I spent two days crying my eyes out, looking everywhere we could think of to look.”
The girls knew to stay in one place, and by following their boot prints and granola bar wrappers, the search team was eventually able to bring them home.
Both girls had been enrolled in a 4H program that taught survival skills. Without these skills, it’s questionable whether the girls could have survived. When they were found, they were dehydrated and cold, but were otherwise, perfectly fine.
Wilderness survival classes have been around since the start of the Boy/Girl Scouts and likely even before then.. Back when people lived in more agricultural landscapes, wilderness survival was common and necessary knowledge. Today, that wilderness survival training is often passed down to men over women. Even in the Girl Scouts, the only survival skill girls are taught during campouts is how to build a fire. Recently, increased interest in wilderness training and survival programs allow people from all walks of life, children or adults, to find the training that’s best for them.
Nevertheless, these two sisters used their training well.
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