Nancy Abell tried to get Katharina Groene to turn back, but with just 150 miles to go on her solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, Groene wanted to see her adventure through.
Abell met Groene a few weeks ago in Washington state, after Groene had walked 2,500 miles northward from the Mexican border. She was nearing her end point at the Canadian border, but it was late in the season, and Abell was concerned because Groene didn't have snowshoes. "I told her, 'If you were my daughter, I wouldn't let you do this,'" Abell told CBS News.
She couldn't stop thinking about the German hiker, worrying about what was happening to her on the trail. When forecasters said to expect two feet of snow in the mountains, Abell quickly called the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office and explained that Groene might be in trouble. "I was really stressed out," she said. "I felt really compelled that I really needed to get help for her."
Even though Groene wasn't reported missing and did not send any distress signals, officers agreed to search the mountains, and soon found her — with frostbite. Rescuers said it's likely she would have died within a day, and Abell saved her life. Groene, who is staying with Abell for a few days before she goes home to Germany, told CBS News that one of the reasons why she went on the hike by herself is because she had lost her "faith in humanity." Thanks to Abell, she added, it's back in "a really big way." Catherine Garcia