A man stranded in the desert mountains in Arizona with nothing but beer and crackers in the car lived to tell an amazing story of survival.
Mick Ohman found himself standing on a road made of boulders staring at a trail of transmission fluid strung out behind his broken down SUV. He was several miles southwest of Crown King, Arizona and all alone in the sweltering desert.
Mick picked up his phone and talked and recorded a message he hoped nobody would ever see: “If you find this phone and I didn't do so well, please tell my sisters how much I love them.”
Mick’s voice quivered as he said the words. But it’s the only time he got emotional over 48 hours lost in the Arizona wilderness.
Looking back now, Mick said he realizes there were lots of little mistakes that led to the life-threatening situation.
“I didn't tell anybody where I was going. I thought I was just going to Crown King to have lunch,” said Mick. He also said trusting Google Maps was a bad idea.
The map showed a road but didn’t tell Mick that it was a primitive road made mostly of boulders and ruts.
After lunch, Mick took the rugged back roads toward home and bit off much more than his Honda CRV could chew.
All alone in the desert, Mick hiked for hours in hopes of finding a cell signal. No luck. Back at his car he had only a half-bottle of water, a couple beers, a spoiled sandwich and some crackers. Things turned dire.
“I've really never felt that thirsty before. When I tried to swallow I couldn't. My throat stuck together. I had to urinate and I did… and I was surprised it wasn't as obnoxious as I thought it would be. The temperature was what got me, as warm as it was,” said Mick, with a laugh. He knows many people would find drinking urine unacceptable, but he truly believes it saved his life and got him through that first night.
On day two, Mick went hiking for water and miracles came true.
“I found this little stream; it couldn’t have been more than four inches,” said Mick, adding it was the sweetest water he’d ever tasted and he drank until he was nauseous.
Back at his car, Mick tried anything to signal rescue. He shot a gun in Morse code. He built an “H” out of small boulders to signify “help.” He also tried to set a fire, but it wouldn’t light.
With night falling on day two, Mick was again out of water. And the miracles returned. Monsoon rains fell with big, sloppy drops and Mick recorded a video of himself – huge smile on his face.
“It's coming down pretty nice,” he said into his cell phone camera, soaked to the bone and happy.
On day three, Mick set out to find rescue. He began hiking at first light but soon found himself trudging in the mid-morning sun.
“I’m running out of gas. I’ve got water, but I’m running out of steam. My legs are super heavy,” said Mick, recounting his journey.
Ready to collapse, Mick had one more miracle.
“All of a sudden, up over the horizon, Troy appeared," he said.
Mick’s guardian angel turned out to be a dirt biker named Troy. An hour-long ride to Lake Pleasant and Mick was safe.
“I'm screaming in his ear the whole way, ‘You know, today you can say you saved a life.'"