How long do you think you could survive alone in the mountains with limited food, water and shelter. Three weeks? A month?

How about seven weeks?

It’s a story of grit, courage, unexpected survival and celebration of the impossible. In a nutshell, a Canadian woman stranded for seven weeks in one of the most remote reaches of the West was found emaciated but alive. She lost between 30 and 40 pounds but survived on a diet of snowmelt and trail mix, according to the Huffington Post.

If that sounds like most of my backcountry hunts, then I’m flattering myself. I almost always have an exit strategy, and I nearly always return with my partners. In the case of Rita Chretien, investigators are still searching for husband Albert, who reportedly left Rita in their marooned van to walk for help. That was on March 22. And it was in the remote Owyhee country along the Nevada/Idaho state line, where winter hits hard and stays late into the spring.

In the weeks since her husband went to find help, Rita rationed her trail mix, drank snowmelt to keep hydrated and read all the books they had brought with them on what started as a sightseeing trip to Las Vegas.

Reunited with her children yesterday, Rita Chretien reportedly said she was near the end when rescuers found her.

There’s more to know about this story, but she gets my vote as one tough mother!

Photo: Oregon State Police