An Ogden woman who unexpectedly had to spend a night in the backcountry in Fairbanks, Alaska, is reported to be in good condition thanks to her preparations.
Melinda “Mindy” Straetz, 38, of Ogden, was reportedly lost Sunday evening while driving a four-wheeler near the Steese Highway northeast of Fairbanks.
She was found Monday morning, reportedly cold but uninjured.
“She was out four-wheeling and just got stuck,” said Alaska State Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters. “She was able to ride out after she got unstuck.”
Peters said Straetz was “well-equipped” with clothing and provisions for a couple of days.
“Anytime you come out on your own, you should plan for things to happen,” Peters said. “People should always — always — be prepared for the worst when they go out into the backcountry.”
Reports from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner state that Straetz was riding with a group of people on four-wheelers near 70 Mile Steese Highway when she disappeared.
The group included her brother, Mitchell Straetz.
Her brother told Alaska State Troopers that group members noticed Melinda was missing as they were returning to the trailhead around 7:30 p.m. Sunday near Smith Creek.
Mitchell began to search the area but had no success, reports state.
He drove to the Long Creek Lodge to use a phone to report his sister missing at 2:53 a.m. He planned to refuel and return to the scene to resume the search.
Troopers coordinated a search for Melinda that began at first light Monday.
She was found Monday morning.
Peters said Straetz was stuck just off the trail, but no one could see her because of the darkness.