Palmer Township family's rescue at Grand Canyon 'a Christmas miracle'

Search crews rescued 47-year-old Karen Klein, her husband Eric and 10-year-old son Issac in two separate locations on Saturday after the family's vehicle got stuck in a snowy ditch while attempting to reach the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in Arizona. The main road to the canyon's north rim, State Road 67, is closed for the winter. They relied on their car's Global Positioning System, which detoured them to back roads used by the U.S. Forest Service.

There were no signs of civilization around them and snow was falling hard.

Klein, a community college professor who is a marathon runner and triathlete, was the family's only hope.

The husband of a Palmer Township woman who hiked for 30 straight hours after getting stranded in the Grand Canyon said he had faith she would make it out alive.

"Because I was like hallucinating and delirious, like, my first thought was like, I yelled out: 'I'm so sorry officer that I broke your window... don't arrest me for breaking the window, ' " she continued.

With no cell phone reception, Klein was forced to walk some 26 miles in the frozen wilderness.

Suffering from exposure and frostbite, her husband knew time was running out.

Klein, her husband and their 10-year-old son apparently got lost when their Global Positioning System stopped working and they ran off the road Thursday afternoon. She then remembered another entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park just over 20km away, and started walking in that direction.

She is now in the hospital recovering from frostbite.

"It got to be about 1:30 in the morning and at this point I had walked about 26 miles, so I kept myself awake, " she said. "She didn't want her twin to be without a sister". She would do it or she would die trying.

Klein drank her own urine and ate pine tree twigs, knowing that eating snow could increase her chance of hypothermia. With no cell phone coverage, no civilization nearby, heavy snow continuing to fall, and with little to no food or water, Karen did the only thing she knew to do. Using GPS, they were directed to forestry service roads. Karen was with her husband and 10-year-old son.

Family missing in northern Arizona forest is rescued after mom hikes 27 miles through snow to a cabin.

It took nine hours for her to travel those last few miles. The Coconino County Sheriff's Office and the Kane County Sheriff's Office eventually found Karen Klein in the guard's shack and transported her to the hospital. Klein could barely move in 10-steps intervals - often having to physically lift her legs one in front of the other.

"I can believe she had the mind to do it, because much of that toughness is in the mind", Haase said.

The sisters are looking forward to celebrating their 47th birthday together next week.