When Page finally regained consciousness, she started her journey back toward the camp, which, if you've been paying attention, is a 15-mile mountain hike away. Shoeless, barely clothed, her body battered with wounds that should have killed her several times over, she would crawl on her hands and knees during the day and rest at night. This was around the Catalina Mountains, which means she was crawling over this terrain:
Where vultures go to die.
She survived by eating seeds and vegetation and drinking snow. Oh, yeah, did we forget to mention it was cold as hell?
She made slow progress back toward where she remembered the camp being (not realizing it wasn't there any more), and when we say slow, we don't mean hours. We mean it took almost two weeks of crawling through the woods. Then, after 12 days of hellish struggle, she made it back to the campsite from where she had been taken hostage, only to find it was abandoned -- even the food was gone, from where the Apaches had ransacked it. She ate what she could find among the remnants that had been spilled on the ground, and decided to press on.
The next day she headed toward another campsite, finally encountering civilization. When she arrived, she was unrecognizable -- nearly naked, with clotted hair, covered in gaping wounds, emaciated, and badly sunburned. She was at first mistaken for an unfortunate outcast squaw, and the men ran for their guns. If they had shot her, we have no doubt that she would have survived that as well.
Arizona Historical Society
"Boys, I am in no mood for your shit."
Finally, she was recognized and reunited with her husband ... whom the Apaches would kill the very next year (we told you, the Old West was a goddamned shitshow). But Page not only survived, she lived on to the age of 76. Oh, and did you forget about Mercedes, the little Mexican girl who also got kidnapped? The Apaches handed her back later, unharmed, in a prisoner exchange. We're sure your story was exciting too, Mercedes, but we're sorry. Page kind of upstaged you there.
Yosomono writes about his own miraculous survival in the nuclear wastelands of Japan. Josh wants to be your BFF on Facebook. Follow Jacopo on Twitter and check out the slick website for his upcoming book The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy.
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Related Reading: Survival stories get miraculous-er, like this guy who was trapped underwater for three days. And on the other side of the unbelievable spectrum, there's this marathon runner who got lost in the Sahara. People are tougher than you'd expect. One man even survived an industrial drill to the head.