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Against All Odds: Texas Man Who Now Plans to Become 'Trail Angel' Credits ‘3 Miracles’ for Surviving Desert Ordeal

Man Survives Texas Desert Eating Tadpoles, Drinking From Puddle
Source: Big Bend Ranch State Park

Visitors bike through Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Dec. 10 2023, Published 11:01 a.m. ET

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A man in Texas faced a harrowing ordeal in the desert when he and his daughter got lost during a hike in Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Battling heat exhaustion in scorching temperatures of up to 107 degrees, Jeff Hahn resorted to unconventional measures to survive, according to Texas Highways.

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After running out of drinking water, Hahn discovered a stroke of luck in an old mining shack — two sealed one-liter bottles of water bearing an H-E-B label. However, as he continued in the oppressive heat, he developed severe cramps, prompting him to send his daughter ahead for help while he pressed on.

Unfortunately, a miscommunication occurred, and the rescue team, including Hahn's daughter and state park superintendent Nathaniel Gold, couldn't locate him where they expected.

Unbeknownst to them, Hahn had taken shelter in a shack miles away, Texas Highways reported.

During his solitary journey, Hahn faced another challenge: he tripped over a rock and broke his wrist.

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However, incredibly he happened to fall next to a puddle of water. Thirsty and desperate, he drank from the puddle, hoping for hydration. Although it took him about 20 minutes to regain his footing, he was able to endure the night.

As rescuers intensified their search, Hahn encountered a stream with tadpoles, presenting a bizarre but life-saving opportunity. Hungery, he ate the tadpoles, likening his experience to the survival show Naked and Afraid.

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Finally, spotting a distant plane, Hahn attracted attention through several passes, leading to the much-awaited voice calling his name. Reunited with his daughter, Hahn, though dirty and pale, was miraculously alive.

Medical professionals later diagnosed him with rhabdomyolysis, a condition where muscles break down. Despite this setback, Hahn made a full recovery a few months later, with only lingering issues in his broken wrist.

Undeterred by the ordeal, Hahn expressed his intention to return to Big Bend Ranch, this time with plans to turn himself into a "trail angel." Reflecting on his experience, he acknowledged the importance of preparedness, hinting he may opt to use an ATV on his future excursions, Texas Highways reported.

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