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Woman, 84, found after 48 hours in Minn. woods

  • Associated Press
  • August 24, 2013 - 6:50 PM

CHISHOLM, Minn. — An 84-year-old woman who spent 48 hours alone in a Chisholm forest after getting lost on a solo walk was found safe this week with just a few scratches and some mosquito bites.

Margaret "Peggy" Archuleta endured heat, humidity and a thunderstorm, but she was in good spirits when she was found Thursday evening, the Duluth News Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/14tcSSP ).

The Idaho woman disappeared Tuesday as temperatures hovered in the low 90s. Her family thought she was sitting on the deck and didn't realize she had gone for a walk.

She usually walks with her daughter, Rita Raskovich, but this time she decided to go alone. She tried to follow the usual route but didn't recognize that she'd taken a wrong turn. It wasn't until she wandered into an unfamiliar wooded ravine that she realized she was lost.

She didn't want to get more lost so she sat down and waited to be rescued. She found a sheltered area where branches helped protect her from a thunderstorm, even though it left her a little cold and wet.

Fifteen minutes after she'd left her house her family realized she had disappeared. They retraced her walking route with no success, and rescue efforts gradually grew to include scores of searchers.

When rescuers finally found Archuleta she was hungry and thirsty but otherwise OK. She was taken to a hospital, where she asked for watermelon, sandwiches, lunch meat and two Serrano peppers.

Her son-in-law, Steve Raskovich, marveled at Archuleta's condition.

"She's got a few scratches from lying on the ground for 2½ days," he said. "And apparently she only had two mosquito bites. Her heart rate and blood pressure were fine."

He said his mother-in-law had been diagnosed as being in early stages of dementia, but he said she's still "sharp as a tack."

"I sit down every day before I go to work with her and play 'Jeopardy,' and she kicks my butt every time," he said.

Archuleta said she learned her lesson — next time she goes for a walk she'll take someone with her. She also said it didn't take long to recover from her ordeal.

"I feel fine now," she said Friday.

© 2014 Star Tribune