The 72-year-old woman and her pet dog were found in "fair condition" late Saturday afternoon, in the Canyon Creek area of the White River Indian Reservation, after a rescue aircraft crew spotted the "help" sign Rodgers made using sticks and rocks.
According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety officials, on March 31, Rodgers was on her way to Phoenix to visit her grandchildren when her car ran out of gas. She found herself stranded on a remote road near Canyon Creek. Rodgers climbed several long and narrow hills to find a cell phone signal to contact someone for help but was unsuccessful.
"What I feel like is a survivor," Rodgers told reporters Tuesday. "How stupid could I be?"
Rodgers and her dog Queenie aimlessly wandered in the wilderness for the next week and a half. They survived by drinking water from ponds and eating plants. With no rescue in sight, Rodgers said she started to accept the possibility of dying.
"I said to myself, all right, if this is the end — if this is it — at least I'm going to die in the most natural beautiful cathedral I have been in in a long time. And then I thought, 'No, I ain't giving up yet," she said.
On April 3, Rodgers' vehicle was found by a rescue crew prompting a 48-hour exhaustive search. Ranger helicopters were sent to conduct aerial as well as ground search but were unsuccessful in finding Rodgers.
It was not until April 3 when the aerial search team spotted the "help" sign spelled in sticks and stones across the canyon floor, authorities said. They also found a handwritten message under the rocks, dated April 3, saying that Rodgers was running out of food and water and that she was travelling down the canyon.
"Further down the canyon, ADPS Ranger discovered what appeared to be a shelter that had been abandoned by Rodgers," public safety officials said in a statement. Shortly after, Rodgers was located standing next to a signal fire and waving to the rescue helicopter. Her dog Queenie was also found safely walking out of the Canyon Creek area and was reunited with her owner.