04/01/2013 02:05 pm ET | Updated Apr 01, 2013

Hiker Mary Owen Survives 6 Days In A Snow Cave On Oregon's Mount Hood (VIDEO)

Missing George Fox University student Mary Owen was miraculously rescued Saturday after spending six days trapped in a snow cave on Oregon's Mount Hood, reports ABC News.

Owen, 23, is an experienced hiker who decided to climb the 11,249-foot mountain solo during her spring break. But the day trip turned into a week-long nightmare last Sunday. Caught in a whiteout 1,000 feet from the top, Owen tumbled down a canyon and found herself trapped with a badly injured leg.

According to the Oregonian, she built a snow cave for protection, sustained herself with snacks and built fires fueled by Nutri-Grain wrappers. Because her registration form was misplaced, officials were unaware she was missing on the mountain.

"It’s hard to give up hope when there’s so much life inside you,” Owen told ABC on Sunday.

It wasn't until Thursday that friends and family realized she must be missing. But Owen said she could feel their love and concern.

She told the Oregonian that she awoke on Friday "with a lot of peace and the sense that thousands and thousands of people were praying for me ... I thought, 'Today is the day they're going to find me.'"

On Saturday morning, Owen was discovered by a National Guard helicopter and flown to safety. She spent Easter Sunday with her family in a Portland hospital while being treated for a leg injury and frostbite on both feet.

An aspiring bible translator, Owen told Portland's KGW, "I feel I have a purpose in life, and there's a really good reason why I'm alive."


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