John and Patricia Norvell sat trapped in their Jeep Grand Cherokee for 4 days, hoping each day that someone would come along and rescue them.
Their survival ordeal began when their Jeep slid off the snow-covered forest road new Mount St. Helens and ended up stuck in the borrow pit running alongside the road. Over the next 4 days, a couple more feet of snow fell and the overnight temperatures dropped into the teens. The Norvells weren't prepared with sleeping bags or extra food and water. According to the report, the only food they had was a bag of jelly beans, and their water came from melting snow. To stay warm, they ran the engine only a few minutes at a time so they wouldn't run out of gas. To top it all off, nobody back home had a clue where to look for them.
It wasn't until the middle of the week when family members dropped by the Norvells' home and discovered that the cats hadn't been fed. That's when relatives alerted authorities. One family member said, "No one had any clue. Normally they tell you, 'hey we're going to drive to the beach today, or we're going to go here.' They had talked about maybe going to the seaside or Port Angeles. We called every hotel in Port angeles. It was a dead end everywhere we went."
The Norvells tried to call their family earlier in the day before they got stuck, but there was no cell coverage where they were driving. After continuing up the forest road for a while, they decided to turn around. That's when they got stuck.
At one point, Patricia decided that they needed to hike out, but John felt like they should stay with the vehicle where it provided shelter and some warmth. Good decision John!
After their rescue (by some folks who just happened to drive by and spot their vehicle buried in snow), the Norvells made a list of what they wish they had with them. On their list were a shovel, food, and more water. I might add to that list a sleeping bag for each person, and signaling equipment better than just a cell phone.
But the biggest lesson of all is about the importance of letting friends and family members back home know where you're going and when to expect you back. That alone might have shortened the Norvells' adventure significantly.