Cathy and her husband Rick McFarland arrived at Big Bend State Park last Wednesday. They were married at the National Park making it an annual hike, but due to the government shutdown closing National Parks, they explored the 300,000 acre state park for the first time.
Less than a week later, Cathy is recovering in an El Paso hospital.
Cathy and Rick McFarland set out for an afternoon hike packing only two bottles of water and a few snacks, but as the sky became dark and the desert air quickly cooled they realized they were lost.
The couple spent the two nights outside trying to find their way again, but without water and only eating cactus they weakened quickly.
Friday afternoon, two days after entering the park, Cathy could no longer continue. She told her husband to leave her.
Exhausted and fatigued, McFarland managed to make his way back to the park headquarters and find help that night.
Mc Farland helped officials organize a plan and pinpoint a 12 to 15 mile radius within the park.
Sunday morning, over 80 individuals set out as a team to find Cathy. After hearing her voice, search members merged on the location finding her about five hours later.
Cathy was found lying under the same bush that her husband left her, without water for over 48 hours. Tuesday, Cathy remains in an El Paso hospital in stable condition.
Game wardens stress the importance of packing a great deal of water, being aware of your surroundings, and to pack a GPS and detailed map.