Old Woman Survived Five Days Alone in Woods

diggers350 tony at gaia.org
Tue Nov 12 13:50:07 GMT 2002

16:30 2002-11-10

Old Woman Survived Five Days Alone in Woods 

Her determination paid off

A lot people have been to hard situations in their lives. However, 
the story, which was told by 72-year-old Russian woman Yulia Smirnova 
is something way more than that. She spent five days in the woods all 

Day One 

"I went to pick up some cranberries with the some women I know. My 
sister Shura was also in our company. We went to the place of the 
Saunino swamp, which is the place, where I have been to a lot of 
times before so, I did not sense any trouble. We filled our baskets 
with cranberries and then some women wanted to pick up some 
mushrooms. I did not want any mushrooms, because I saw a place, where 
there was a lot of my favorite red bilberries. The women showed me 
the way home and went to pick up mushrooms. I ate a lot of berries 
and my basket was already full of them too, when I suddenly realized 
that I was walking in a wrong direction. I started calling other 
women, but they apparently did not hear me. So, I started searching 
for the place, where I came from, but I could not do anything about 
it either. My legs were getting more and more tired of walking. It 
was also getting dark very quickly. I found a high pine tree, climbed 
on it, but did not see anything that looked like a house or a road. 
So, I had to decide to stay there in the forest for the night. I was 
really upset about it, of course, but I had no other choice. I wish I 
had a compass with me, it would be so very helpful. 

"I found a place to spend that night near some birch trees. I made my 
bedding of dry sticks and moth. It was alright until it started 
drizzling, so I got all wet and could not sleep at all. It is 
strange, but I had no fear. I knew that wolves and bears were not 
hungry, so I was not afraid of them. I was not afraid of the forest 
either, because I spend so much of my time in it, skiing in winter or 
picking berries and mushrooms in summer. I love forest, I talk to it 
when I am there, and I feel like it understands me. It was so very 
dark and quiet that night, I heard only the rain and birds. 

"I do not know why, but that was the time, when I started thinking of 
my life. I started thinking of what I have done and accomplished. I 
was aware of the fact that I have not done any bad to other people 
that I knew. My memory was bringing up only good moments of my 
living, beginning from my childhood. At the same time, I was full of 
hope that I would find my home again. 

"I got up from my "natural bed" early in the morning. I was soaked 
through, my shows were worn out, but I was determined to find a way 

Day Two 

"I looked at the watch, it was early morning. Soon I saw a young man, 
who was picking berries up. I was afraid of talking to him, because 
his reaction to me was rather weird. Probably, he did not like the 
way I looked. My clothes were rather ragged. Anyway, I asked him for 
a way to the nearest village. He showed me the way to the nearest 
settlement of Shigoyevo, it was some five kilometers far. I was 
walking slowly, still carrying the basket of cranberries. I do not 
know why, but I did not find a road. Soon it started getting dark, so 
I decided to find birch trees again. I do not know why I was trying 
to sleep near birch trees. It seemed to me that they were protecting 
me. I did everything like yesterday. It was September, the nights 
were getting really cold, especially in the forest. So, I was doing 
my best to move all the time, when I was lying on the ground, trying 
to take a nap. The only idea that I had in my head was about my home. 
I was absolutely sure that I would find my way. I could not sleep 
that night. My head was all full of thoughts. I even started thinking 
that someone was probably looking for me, so I told myself not to 
give up, not even a bit. This was the idea that I had in my mind in 
the morning." 

Day Three 

"It seemed to me that the basket of cranberries was getting heavier 
and heavier, I was obviously loosing strength. So I decided to hang 
it on a pine, thinking that I would be able to go there and pick it 
up after I find a way home. I had a bag of medicines there and a 
bottle of water. I was trying to save as much water as I could. I 
knew that it was really valuable for me. All I had to eat was 
cranberries. This berry is very sour, so something went wrong with my 
voice. This upset me a lot, because I realized that I would not be 
able to call for help, if I saw someone. So, I just kept on walking, 
looking for a road. 

"A bit later I decided to take a nap, because I was feeling very weak 
and sleepy. I took a nap and then started wandering again. Soon I 
found something like a path, which made me very happy. A bit later I 
even heard the roar of tractor engine. I started following it 
immediately, but all of a sudden the engine stopped roaring. I 
discovered that I lost the path and the bag, where I had my medicines 
and water. Then, I saw two men coming up to me. I did not say that I 
got lost in the forest, but they guessed it by the way I looked. They 
showed me how to find a road and I started walking there. The evening 
fell very soon, so I made up my mind to spend another night in the 
woods, to get up early in the morning and continue walking." 

Day Four 

"I started searching for a road early in the morning. I was hoping 
for the best, there was not even one bad thought in my mind. I 
crossed a ditch and saw a blue meadow. When I got closer to it, I 
realized that it was a blueberry meadow. I was really happy to find 
it, because I finally found something to eat. When I was not hungry, 
I set on walking and heard tractor's roar again. All of a sudden 
there was a gunshot somewhere in the same direction. This stopped me 
from walking there, I did not want to be accidentally killed. Then I 
saw a road in the woods. Sometimes it was getting narrow, sometimes 
it was getting wide. I was getting really tired. I thought to myself 
that it was my fourth day of wandering, that was more than enough. I 
was longing to go back home and get some really good sleep. I had to 
spend one more night in the forest. 

"The next day was my lucky day. I found the way out. I found the road 
in the evening, which was good for me, because I did not want other 
people to see me. I managed to stop a car, and a young couple took me 
to their home. They gave me food and allowed me to have a bath in 
their house. Then they took me to my village. You can imagine, how my 
relatives rejoiced, when they saw me. I am certain that I remained 
alive owing to my will and hope. 

Based on the material from the Krasny Sever newspaper 

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov 

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